Date published: October 12 2018
Mika Hakkinen believes that there should be “competition” amongst tyre manufacturers as well as teams in F1.
The Finn raced for McLaren between 1991 and 2001, winning the World Championship in 1998 and 1999.
His first title came in the midst of a tyre battle, as he won with McLaren on Bridgestones, while Ferrari were on Goodyear tyres.
Pirelli have now been the sole supplier of tyres since 2011, while the series has not had a “tyre war” since 2006, the end of Michelin v Bridgestone.
It will remain a single-supplier series until 2024, despite Hankook having put in a tender to try and take the contract from the 2020 season onwards.
Hakkinen warned that there are “a lot of things that you can look at and think, ‘ah this should be different and that should be different’”.
The double World Champion believes that having a second tyre manufacturer in the sport can only enhance the racing.
“There is no competition – there should be other manufacturers out there, that way the competition comes up,” Hakkinen said.
“When I speak to the drivers I have understood the tyres go on a certain peak and if you push even a little further they just overheat.
“It’s not a criticism of what Pirelli’s doing, it’s just a fact that there should be competition.
“If you only have one driver driving out there it’s the same thing. We need competition. That’s exciting.”
The Finn also recommended that young drivers should have more track time available to them.
He, himself, spent the 1993 season as McLaren’s test driver, having been promoted up from Formula 3.
With the use of simulators in the modern era, young drivers do not get the chance to test F1 cars like they used to.
“[For] young drivers that come into F1 it’s quite challenging because there is no testing,” the Finn added.
“In my opinion it could be much more useful if the young drivers can test and develop themselves. Whatever sport you do, if you cannot practice, how do you improve?
“Of course the technical side of the cars, how do you develop the engine and chassis if you’re not allowed to test?
“Yes, of course you can go into computers and simulations but they are not in a real world.”
There will, of course, be at least two rookies on the grid next year, as Lando Norris takes his place in the McLaren team that Hakkinen drove for, while Williams have announced that George Russell will drive for them in 2019.