Sunday, May 26, 2024

The possible return of Bridgestone





FIA has opened the tender for the official F1 tyre supply contract from 2025 to 2027, with the option to extend it until 2028.

At the beginning of 2023, FIA opened the tender for the official F1 tyre supply contract from 2025 to 2027 because the current contract will expire at the end of 2024. Everybody knows that Pirelli has been the official F1 tyre supplier since 2011 and had already won a bid to renew this contract some years ago, defeating the South Korean brand, Hankook. The Pandemic forced FIA and F1 to postpone new technical rules, and the current valuable contract for tyres has been extended until 2024 from the previous expiration in 2023. Also, for this bid, Pirelli must fight with another supplier, which has already been an official supplier for F1, the Japanese Bridgestone.

Bridgestone’s era in F1 started in 1997 as an F1 supplier in co-sharing with American Goodyear. In 1998 Bridgestone won the first F1 title thanks to McLaren, and in 1999 (for two seasons) they were the exclusive tyre supplier to F1. This rule change started the Ferrari era, and Michael Schumacher won five consecutive world championships. In 2001 Bridgestone was again in co-sharing with another supplier, this time Michelin, and this period lasted until 2006 because of official Michelin’s retirement from F1. Then, Bridgestone supplied F1 from 2007 until the 2010 season. During the 2010 season, Pirelli won the official tender to come back to F1. Bridgestone left Formula 1 but not the motorsport world; in fact, Bridgestone’s associated brand Firestone is IndyCar’s official supplier. After 13 years, Bridgestone is talking about a possible comeback to Formula 1.

The Head of Motorsports Planning of the Japanese factory, Eiichi Suzuki declared, “We are always thinking about what and how we can best deliver our motorsport activities in global categories, including F1. Of course, we are researching these topics.”

The factory hasn’t officially confirmed this indiscretion yet, but a spokesman stated some days ago: “Bridgestone has a 60-year heritage in motorsports, and we are a partner in many motorsport events. We will continue to advance and refine our technologies through top-level races around the globe that require top-level tyre performance. F1 is considered as one of the various options”. Let’s see if Pirelli will continue or we’ll see Bridgestone back in F1.

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