Hakkinen: F1 needs a tire war

Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

Two-time world champ, Mika Hakkinen, says what Formula 1 needs is a good old fashioned tire war.

“There is no competition – there should be other manufacturers out there, that way the competition comes up,” said Hakkinen.

“When I speak to the drivers I have understood the tyres go on a certain peak and if you push even a little further they just overheat.

“It’s not a criticism of what Pirelli’s doing, it’s just a fact that there should be competition.

“If you only have one driver driving out there it’s the same thing.

“We need competition. That’s exciting.”

We’ve discussed the tire situation at length before and I think I’ve been clear that I’m not  big fan of the HD tire. I’ve also advocated for a multi-supplier series again as I think that would add more competitiveness to the series.

In short, we’ve given the entire sustainable conservation-mode racing concept the good old college try and found it wanting. It may be producing terrific tech for car makers, wonderful marketing messages, key positioning for possible government subsidies in EV research, sending the right message for the FIA about sustainable mobility and thrilled those who view F1 as a sort of Elon Musk or romanticized Tesla-style lab for people who love the notion of electric cars and sustainability programs…and possibly aren’t quite sure if Tony Stark is real.

For the rest of us, it has bankrupted four teams, not drawn a single new manufacturer to the sport through it’s magic elixir that Jean Todt said it might, and produced racing that is all about conserving instead of exploiting. All about pulling back instead of pushing full stop. It has given us one clearly dominant team, who also had a large hand in getting the regulations changed to this formula, and has some drivers now viewing the series as a class A and class B championship. Oh, it it has also given us DRS for those of you who are keeping score at home.

Is Mika right? Would a tire war bring back competition? I liked Michelin’s solution about creating a tire war within a sole-supplier configuration at the very least but perhaps Mika is right. We’ve tried it this way so let’s consider a new way…at least I think that’s what Ross Brawn is trying to do with the 2021 regulation changes but I’ve not seen much movement on that front either and time is running out.

Hat Tip: Autosport


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Fast Freddy

Get’s expensive and eventually someone dominates and the others give up and we are back to a single supplier.

Tom Firth

McLaren, Williams and Renault were all favoured Michelin teams at different times during that era. Ferrari and Bridgestone had the consistent relationship.


and didn’t Ferrari start to be ‘in bed’ with their tyre supplier so that it favoured their car?


Another way to spend more money.

Tom Firth

I agree with Mika but I want a tyre war in F1. Yes it costs money but it should be open rather than closed at the very top of the sport. The problem I see though is how do you get a second tire manufacturer up to speed. I was reading in some of the German press that Hankook who have placed a bid to take over from Pirelli aren’t so concerned about the idea of having one year on one size of tire and the next on the other, the bigger problem for them is sourcing a car to… Read more »


I think the issue is that F1 has now got a tangled relationship with Pirelli that is equal parts tire supply contract and Pirelli advertising deal. F1 slaps the Pirelli logo on absolutely everything, and they’re not doing that for free. I don’t think F1 wants to go back to multiple tire suppliers since it would mean that neither supplier could be such a prominent advertising partner.

The Captain

““When I speak to the drivers I have understood the tyres go on a certain peak and if you push even a little further they just overheat. ” Ahhh yea Mika they do….because that what Pirelli was told to make!!!! I swear if I was Pirelli I would give this sport the middles as I walked out the door. They are told to make a tire that won’t last a race distance, teams build a strategy around optimizing for that, then people affiliated with the sport who should damn well know better criticize Pirelli for it. I also just don’t… Read more »