Interesting article in the ft.com a couple of days ago, detailing how Hankook tyres is setting its sights on
Formula One as a means to boosting its brand appeal.
The South Korean tyres manufacturer has seen how British racing driver Paul di Resta used his championship victory in last year’s Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters to catapult him into F1 this season.
Now Hankook is set to replace Dunlop as the official tyre supplier to DTM, a Europe-wide tour of 10 races, from next month and it views this as a possible springboard for succeeding Pirelli as the F1 supplier from 2014, when the Italian company’s three-year contract is up.
According to ft.com: “Pushing to win greater Asian sponsorship, Bernie Ecclestone, F1’s commercial supremo, invited Hankook to supply F1 tyres last year. Cho Hyun-bum, the company’s chief financial officer, regretted that Mr Ecclestone’s eight-month time frame made it “physically impossible” to build the required extra capacity but vowed Hankook would be ready next time.”
However he revealed in the article: “We are keen to do it and DTM is a logical stepping stone.”
According to the report: “Hankook is targeting blue-riband motorsport to address its greatest commercial weakness: poor brand value in developed markets. Mr Cho concedes that DTM and F1 are not profitable in terms of tyre sales, but are priceless for its attempt to narrow the gap with Michelin and Bridgestone in premium markets, where margins are more alluring.”
Alex Kapadia, Operations Team