Mika Hakkinen believes that tyre war will be good for Formula 1, forcing competition in an area that has been shut for such in recent years, the double world champion adding that additional tyre competitors will be a boost for the sport.
Pirelli have been the sole tyre supplier to the top flight since 2011 until 2019, but the double F1 World Champion, speaking from experience of the tyre war that prevailed between Bridgestone and Goodyear when he won his first title in 1998, is convinced that another competitor or two would be a good thing.
Hakkinen told Globo at Suzuka, “There is no more competition. There should be more tyre companies out there so competition improves. Speaking to the drivers I understand that these tyres have peaks and limits, if you push they overheat and you pay.”
“This is not a criticism of what Pirelli’s doing, it’s just a fact that there should be competition in this area. If you only have one driver driving out there it’s the same thing, we need competition because that’s what makes it exciting.”
Tyre companies often footed the bill of testing when tyre wars prevailed in Formula 1, which in turn helped teams bleed young drivers through intensive testing programmes. Many drivers of that area first got their taste of Formula 1 during days of testing. They were well prepared to step up when called to.
The modern era is simulator driven, teams spending huge fortunes on never-ending development of simulation technology to do virtual testing.
Hakkinen argued, “It’s challenging for young drivers to step up to Formula 1 because there is no testing. In my opinion, it makes more sense and is more useful if young drivers can do more testing and development work before they move up.”
“Whatever sport you do, if you can’t practice, how will you improve? On the technical side, how do you develop the engine and chassis if you’re not allowed to test? Yes, of course, you can do it on computers and do the simulations but these are not in the real world,” insisted Hakkinen.