Hankook rules out potential bid for F1 tire contract

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Should Pirelli choose not to continue on in Formula One after the end of this season, Korean company Hankook will not be there to replace them. Hankook has tire supply contracts with multiple categories around the world, but according to an article from Autosport’s Jamie O’Leary and Edd Straw, the company is worried about uncertainty over long-term rules and a lack of testing opportunities in F1 that could keep it from properly developing Grand Prix tires.

“Even if we started this year with the first tire test, it would take easily three years until you can finish a safe and performing F1 tyre,” Michael Eckert, Hankook’s competition engineer in the DTM touring car series, told Autosport. “Now the regulations are changing; engine formula, chassis, and aerodynamics…Nobody even knows about the dimensions of the tyres for 2014 – they are still not fixed.”

Pirelli recently indicated they could walk away from the F1 landscape at season’s end, and this week, they issued a statement that denied favoritism toward Mercedes after the team carried out a secret tire test following the Spanish Grand Prix.

Going back to Hankook, Eckert maintained that his group remains interested in Formula One, but said that “it’s not obligatory” that they eventually get to that level.

“From an engineering point of view, F1 is the greatest challenge, but from a financial point of view, it is a huge investment,” he said. “You have to be ready with all aspects of your company, not only with the tyre itself but the infrastructure regarding the logistics.

“Certainly we will follow up on it and we are interested in new opportunities from a business point of view and also, from a branding point of view, to go into new markets.”

Hankook has signed a new deal with DTM to supply tires for that series through at least 2016.

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”