OCTOBER 29, 2005
Rumours in America
There are stories circulating in the United States suggesting that General Motors has been approached about an American-based Formula 1 team. Given the company's financial situation they have not been very enthusiastic about the idea but the stories we have heard say that the plan might include financial support from tyre giant Goodyear.
There is speculation that Goodyear may make a bid for the F1 tyre supply contract because it wants to stop Bridgestone gaining ground in Europe and wants to increase its presence in Asia. Goodyear's Stu Grant says that Goodyear could make a bid for the F1 deal if it makes sense for the company's marketing plans but at the moment is giving nothing away.
Goodyear has been coming and going from racing for more than 100 years, playing a key role in the sport between 1919 and 1922 and then disappearing until 1959 when the firm came back and in the years that followed won the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Indianapolis 500. From 1968 onwards Goodyear was the dominant force in racing in the United States and the firm also began challenging for the Formula 1 World Championship. Goodyear went on to win 361 Grand Prix victories before withdrawing in 1998. The company pulled out of CART and IRL in 1999 but remained the major force in NASCAR. Goodyear has won more racing championships than any other tyre company.
However, there are signs that Goodyear may get some serious opposition when the NASCAR tyre contract comes up for renewal at the end of 2007 and there are stories circulating in the United States that both Bridgestone and Michelin want the NASCAR deal (through their Firestone and BF Goodrich subsidiaries respectively).
It is also worth noting that the Korean tyre company Kumho has announced plans to enter Formula 1 so it too may decide that it wants to bid for the F1 contract. The interesting point in all of this is that with a single tyre formula there is no real need for huge sums to be spent on tyre development and thus the money being used for that now could be used to secure the deal. The downside of the situation is that a single tyre supplier rarely gets mentioned unless there are problems with the tyres.
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