Home  »  Car Racing  »  Features  »  Gallery  »  Videos

Could Goodyear return to Formula 1?

Submitted by on July 12, 2013

goodyear f1

Image: Cahier Archive

In light of Pirellis current troubles, what chance a return of the American company with the greatest heritage in Formula 1 history?

By Tom Biltcliffe

Since the start of the 2007 Formula 1 season, the sport has relied upon a sole tyre manufacturer to provide rubber for each team. It was at the FIA’s discretion that the use of just one provider would not only reduce development costs and testing, but also narrow the gap between competitors.

Italian giants Pirelli currently hold the monopoly to wrap formula 1 racing wheels in super sticky racing rubber, having taken over from Bridgestone in 2011.

dunlop f1

Dunlop  took the first of their 48 GP wins at Monaco in 1958 with Mike Hawthorn. Image: Cahier Archive

But what of the days where Michelin, Firestone, Dunlop and Goodyear also used to line pit lanes across the globe?

The latter, in particular, reigned supreme in the sport for over thirty years, dominating both the drivers and constructors World Championship scenes with 24 and 26 titles respectively.

The American company, which were formed in the nineteenth century, in Ohio, USA, have been at the forefront of tyre innovation for many years and have demonstrated as much from Richie Ginther to Michael Schumacher via the moon.

Yes, you read that right; Goodyear made an imprint of lunar proportions in 1971 and has the distinction of being the first tyre of any type to land on the moon.

In 1965, Ginther’s Honda crossed the line first in Mexico City to record Goodyear’s first F1 win (and Honda’s) and kick start their period of dominance right the way through to their last, when Schumacher’s Prancing Horse was victorious at Monza in 1998.

The 115 year old brand, now very much synonymous with airships and blimps, has come a long way since its inception under entrepreneur Frank Seiberling and, alongside its 72,000 workers, has a revenue of close to $20bn.

In the multi-billion dollar industry of Formula 1, Pirelli themselves are finding just how hard it is to please all parties and have been at the centre of just about every a controversy in the 2013 season.

The Italians find that as they continue to divide the team, drivers and fans that they are perennially in a ‘lose-lose’ situation.

Goodyear’s name and reputation as a F1 tyre giant – their record is still streets ahead of any of its rivals – and ranking as one of the most recognisable advertising icons in America, remains intact as they sit quietly in the background and away from such damaging rows.

The wing-footed brand has been at the heart of many iconic moments in the sport too. Who could forget Nigel Mansell’s 320kp/h blowout in Adelaide 1986 which cost him the title? The Brit was cruising round the South Australian circuit to his first Championship only for his trusty rear left Goodyear to spectacularly combust and allow Alain Prost to retain his crown.


Mansell’s Goodyear lets go in the Championship decider at Adelaide in 1986

Prost’s McLaren was, of course, also using the reliable US tyre and he headed a 12 year streak of Goodyear fitted World Champions, which included Piquet, Senna, Schumacher, Hill and Villeneuve.

After an absence of over fifteen years from F1, would Goodyear – who now concentrate on events a little closer to home such as NASCAR – be interested in returning to the sport where it made its reputable name, considering Pirelli’s difficult current position and Bernies love of surprises what are the chances?

Don't miss out! Our best stories, direct to your inbox!


Sign up now - it's free, weekly, and spam-free.