F1 should return to having tyre war - Mika Hakkinen
Double World Champion Mika Hakkinen believes Formula 1 should open itself to multiple tyre suppliers, in order to bring more competition into the sport.
Hakkinen claimed his first world title in a season in which his McLaren team used Bridgestone rubber to edge Goodyear-shod rivals Ferrari and Michael Schumacher.
Goodyear exited the sport after 1998 but Bridgestone was joined by Michelin for 2001 (the final year of Hakkinen’s career), before the French company bowed out post-2006.
Since then Formula 1 has had a sole supplier, with Pirelli replacing Bridgestone in 2011, and the next 2020-23 contract, for which Pirelli and Hankook are competing, stipulates there will not be multiple tyre companies.
“Personally, I think about the tyres, I think there should be more competition,” Hakkinen said when asked about what he would like to change in Formula 1.
“Well there’s no competition. There should be other [tyre] manufacturers out there, that way the competition comes up.
“When I’m speaking with the drivers, I have understood the tyres really go in a certain peak, and if you a little bit push even further, they just overheat. It’s not a criticism of what Pirelli is doing.
“It’s just a fact that there should be a competition. If there’s only one driver driving out there, it’s the same thing, it’s not a competition. We need competition. That’s exciting.”
Hakkinen competed in an era when Formula 1 drivers were able to undertake extensive testing programmes outside of Grand Prix weekends.
But each team is now limited to just 14 days of testing per season – with only one car per day – which includes eight pre-season, four in-season, and two post-season in Abu Dhabi.
With pre-season testing typically involving race drivers, it limits the opportunities that youngsters have to get behind wheel of Formula 1 machinery, a situation that frustrates Hakkinen.
“Certainly young drivers who are coming to Formula 1, it is quite challenging because there is no testing,” he said.
“That in my opinion would be much more useful if the young drivers can test and develop themselves.
“Because whatever sport you do, if you cannot practice your sport, how do you improve?
“Of course the technical side of the cars, how to develop the engines, chassis, if you’re not allowed to test? Yes of course you can go on the computers and all the simulations, but they are not set in the real world.”