Hankook gets serious about F1 bid - by buying a Williams!

Hankook tyres
© XPB 

South Korean manufacturer Hankook is getting even more serious about its bid to take over the exclusive contract to provide tyres to the Formula 1 championship.

The current contract is held by Pirelli, which is hoping to retain its position for the 2020-23 period covered by the FIA's latest tender.

Several companies including Michelin considered applying, but in the end only Hankook and Pirelli actually submitted bids. The French manufacturer has the advantage of experience, having supplied teams on the grid since 2011.

Hankook currently supplies tyres to the German DTM series, as well as the European FIA Formula 3 Championship. Now it has indicated how seriously it's taking the current F1 bid by investing in some much-needed research hardware.

It has reportedly bought a Cosworth-powered 2011 Williams car, as well as a converted Formula 2 car to help it get to grips with the reality of the challenge it faces.

Auto Motor und Sport says that experienced F1 engineer Hirohide Hamashima, formerly of Bridgestone, has been retained as a consultant.

It has also been reported that Hankook has retained the services of an unnamed former Formula E test driver to help develop and test its proposed 2020 tyres on the track.

Hankook's bid has passed the first 'feasibility' test covering initial technical and safety requirements. The FIA is reported to be confident that the company could deliver on its promises if appointed to the role of official F1 tyre supplier.

The sport's governing body is also said to be impressed with Hankook's headquarters in Daejeon.

It's not known how long the review process will take or when the decision will be officially announced.

"Now there is the commercial discussion with F1," Pirelli boss Mario Isola said in Sochi. "There is no deadline for that so I cannot tell you how long it will last."

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