Now Kumho joins race to supply F1 teams in 2011



Yet another name has joined the race to supply tyres to formula one teams in 2011.

Amid reports that Michelin, Pirelli and Avon were vying to replace the departing Bridgestone, it emerged in Barcelona that F1's current supplier might be reconsidering its decision to leave the sport at the end of the year.

It was then rumoured that Michelin - having reduced its financial terms by half - is the favoured 2011 supplier, with teams particularly not keen on the cheaper but riskier Avon option.
FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh also fears that opting for Pirelli or Avon could ultimately cost more because there is no available data.

"The big teams would hire their own engineers to generate data about the tyres themselves," he said. "The small teams could not afford it and we would have a two-class society."

The issue was discussed at length in a meeting of team bosses at the Circuit de Catalunya, and afterwards it was whispered that yet another tyre company might have entered the race.

The South Korean tyre marque Kumho, despite having no experience in formula one, is thought to have submitted a formal letter of intent to supply teams next year.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said the letter was sent to both the FIA and also Bernie Ecclestone, who is in charge of the issue of F1 tyre supply because it is essentially a commercial matter.

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F1 Spanish Grand Prix 2010
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Now Kumho joins race to supply F1 teams in 2011
Grid girls line up before the start of the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya on May 9, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain.
Formula One drivers Mark Webber of Red Bull, Robert Kubica of Renault, Nico Hulkenberg of Williams, Timo Glock of Virgin, Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, Rubens Barrichello of Williams, Jenson Button of McLaren, Vitantonio Liuzzi of Force India, Pedro de la Rosa of BMW Sauber and Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull pose with a cake marking the 20th anniversary of the Catalunya Circuit being used for the Spanish Grand Prix.
Red Bull Racing driver Mark Webber of Australia attends the drivers parade before the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya on May 9, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain.
Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel during the drivers parade.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso during the drivers parade.
Mark Webber of Red Bull Racing leads team mate Sebastian Vettel of Germany and the rest of the field down towards the first corner at the start of the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Mark Webber leads from team mate Sebastian Vettel and the rest of the field during the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix.
Red Bull's Mark Webber leads during the start of the Spanish Grand Prix.
Red Bull's German driver Sebastian Vettel drives ahead of McLaren Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Mercedes' Michael Schumacher ahead of Ferrari's Felipe Massa.
McLaren's Jenson Button leads during the Spanish Grand Prix.
Red Bull Formula One driver Mark Webber of Australia leads the pack through the chicane during the Spanish Grand Prix at the Montmelo racetrack near Barcelona, Spain.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso ahead of McLaren's Jenson Button.
Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull Racing RB6 makes a pit stop.
Pedro De La Rosa of BMW Sauber C29 with punctured rear wheel.
The damaged McLaren MP4/25 of Lewis Hamilton returns to the pits after crashing out on the penultimate lap of the race.
Red Bull's Mark Webber during the Spanish Grand Prix.
Red Bull's Mark Webber during the Spanish Grand Prix.
Australian Mark Webber of Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme after winning the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya on May 9, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain.
Red Bull's Mark Webber raises his trophy as he celebrates winning the Spanish Grand Prix.
Red Bull's Mark Webber celebrates winning the Spanish Grand Prix with third placed and team mate Sebastian Vettel and second placed Fernando Alonso of Ferrari.
2010 Spanish Grand Prix - Saturday Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain 8th May 2010 Robert Kubica, Renault R30. Action. World Copyright: Steven Tee/LAT Photographic ref: Digital Image _A8C6476
2010 Spanish Grand Prix - Saturday Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain 8th May 2010 Nico Hulkenberg, Williams FW32 Cosworth. Action. Photo: Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic ref: Digital Image _A8C7337
2010 Spanish Grand Prix - Saturday Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain 8th May 2010 Rubens Barrichello, Williams FW32 Cosworth. Action. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/LAT Photographic ref: Digital Image _G7C2841
2010 Spanish Grand Prix - Sunday Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain 9th May 2010 Nico Hulkenberg, Williams FW32 Cosworth. Action. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/LAT Photographic ref: Digital Image _G7C4750
2010 Spanish Grand Prix - Sunday Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain 9th May 2010 Robert Kubica, Renault R30. Action. World Copyright: Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic ref: Digital Image _G7C4806
2010 Spanish Grand Prix - Saturday Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain 8th May 2010 Nico Hulkenberg, Williams FW32 Cosworth. Action. Photo: Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic ref: Digital Image _O3Q3732
2010 Spanish Grand Prix - Saturday Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain 8th May 2010 Vitaly Petrov, Renault R30. Action. World Copyright: Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic ref: Digital Image _Q0C0631
2010 Spanish Grand Prix - Friday Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain 7th May 2010 Robert Kubica, Renault R30 puts on his helmet. Portrait. World Copyright: Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic ref: Digital Image _Q0C0677
2010 Spanish Grand Prix - Sunday Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain 9th May 2010 World Copyright: Charles Coates/LAT Photographic ref: Digital Image _26Y0381
2010 Spanish Grand Prix - Saturday Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain 8th May 2010 World Copyright: Charles Coates/LAT Photographic ref: Digital Image _26Y6339
2010 Spanish Grand Prix - Saturday Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain 8th May 2010 Rubens Barrichello, Williams FW32 Cosworth. Portrait. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/LAT Photographic ref: Digital Image GD5D3684
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The teams' preferred option is that Bridgestone is simply persuaded to stay. FOTA is believed to have written to Bridgestone Europe, and the teams' request will now be passed on to CEO Shoshi Arakawa.

"The request is an honour," confirmed the marque's F1 boss Hiroshi Yasukawa.

The tyre issue is now a priority, with the teams wanting clarity by this weekend's Monaco grand prix so as to get to work on the 2011 cars.

Another hot topic in the Monaco bosses meeting will be KERS, due to the fact the gentleman's ban is set to expire and Williams is indicating it will debut its flywheel system in 2011.

It also emerges that Renault and Ferrari's offer to supply their systems for 1 million euros per season is part of the current FOTA gentleman's ban.

"There was an agreement that teams could use KERS (in 2011) if they could meet some target figures in terms of costs and if they could make their system available to customers for those costs," confirmed FOTA's technical boss Ross Brawn.

"I think we have to recognise that KERS is in the regulations at the moment, so anyone within the regulations can use KERS next year," he added.
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