Watching Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren spearing into the tyre barrier and out of second place in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix served as another reminder of the difficult challenge facing any tyre maker who seeks to get involved in the F1 business.
To a very large extent it seems to be a promotional double-edged sword.
All that happens is that you get taken for granted and only hit the headlines when something goes wrong.
Yet astonishingly, there are three tyre makers all queuing up to take over from Bridgestone as F1’s exclusive tyre supplier from the start of 2011, assuming that Bridgestone can’t be persuaded to change its decision to quit.
Michelin, Avon and Pirelli are all reportedly interested in taking the job but the teams want a decision by this weekend’s Monaco GP in order to have the maximum time to prepare for the future.
Particularly surprising, I find, is Michelin’s apparent interest in returning given that their management gave the impression they could not get out of F1 quickly enough back in 2005.
Michelin was made scapegoats for the disastrous 2005 US GP fiasco where all their cars had to withdraw after the warm-up lap following a massive tyre failure to Ralf Schumacher’s Toyota in practice.
Yet, on the other hand, perhaps we should be happy that there have been such expressions of interest.
F1 has been sorely damaged by the withdrawal of the car makes. That the tyre makers are still so interested reminds us that the sport’s global reach is still considerable and far ranging.