By Alex Kapadia
Hankook is set to be in the running as a Formula One tyres supplier of the future after bowing out of the race to secure the contract for 2011.
The South Korean tyres manufacturer had tentatively thrown its hat into the ring to supply the F1 teams with tyres in the coming seasons in a bid to increase its global awareness.
However, with Pirelli and Michelin making strong submissions to replace Bridgestone as the sports supplier, Hankook recognised its inexperience with F1 technology meant it could not put a strong enough bid together in the time required.
Despite its retreat from the race, Hankook – which has some motorsport links through rallying and sportscars – says it is considering a move to F1 in time
The company announced: “Currently we do have a little Le Mans team, and some rally teams here and there, and we try to sell some motor sports tyres.
“In the future we want to have some hefty market share in that segment. It’s quite profitable, but in order to really leverage from motor sports in terms of brands, you need to participate in either world rally championship or a very high segment in Le Mans, or Formula One.
“So in the future that’s the target that we have, to participate in those segments. And that’s going to cost a lot of money, a lot of development cost, a lot of investment, and also how to run these operations with experience.”