David Coulthard’s masterplan that would stop Red Bull domination

Henry Valantine
Max Verstappen leaves the Red Bull pit box.

Pirelli will be heading into their 14th season as the sole F1 tyre supplier.

David Coulthard believes the re-introduction of a second tyre supplier in F1 would bring about a natural “competitive shift” at certain circuits.

Pirelli have been the sole tyre supplier in the sport since 2011, with the previous years of ‘tyre wars’ between Bridgestone and Michelin coming to an end when Michelin left Formula 1 at the end of 2006.

With the tyres bringing about a level playing field on the contact patch on the road, Coulthard questioned whether or not a second supplier would help improve the spectacle in F1.

David Coulthard: ‘No doubt in my mind’ second tyre supplier would improve F1

Pirelli won the tender process to remain as Formula 1’s only tyre supplier until the end of 2027, beating Bridgestone in the process to do so, with the option of a one-year extension.

This secures their monopoly on F1’s tyre market for at least the next four seasons, but Coulthard explained that having competition in that area could add another element alongside proceedings to potentially mix up the order.

Discussing the prospect of a return to Formula 1’s ‘tyre wars’ on the Formula For Success podcast, Coulthard believes that Pirelli having a competitor next to them would create a natural “competitive shift” at different tracks.

“Competition improves the breed, competition improves us as human beings, competition improves goods and services, competition improves racing – so there is no doubt in my mind that everything would get a little bit better if there was competition,” the former McLaren and Red Bull driver explained.

“Now, Pirelli have done a fantastic job of delivering what’s been asked of them in terms of where we were with the previous tyres, coming with the bigger tyres, and there you go – they win every Grand Prix.

“It would mean I guess, potentially, that there wouldn’t be quite so much revenue from the advertising that Pirelli have around the track, although I can’t presume that it would be impossible for both tyre manufacturers to advertise in the same way – you’ve got Mercedes Safety Cars, and then you’ve got Aston Martin Safety Cars.

“But I just don’t think there’s a desire right now to have a tyre competition, but I think it would be better.

“And you know, the other thing it would do, sometimes it would be Pirelli that had the right tyre for the circuit and sometimes let’s say for argument’s sake, it was Bridgestone would have the right tyre.

“So you would naturally have this competitive shift circuit to circuit based on the only thing that touches the ground, which is the tyres.”

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Co-host Eddie Jordan slightly disagreed with the idea, however, believing that the primary tyre suppliers were gravitating to the teams which they believed would be the most competitive – having been in the thick of the action during F1’s last ‘tyre wars’ between Bridgestone and Michelin.

He explained: “I was there in this type of era when there were different manufacturers, and the main manufacturer would have been whoever, Michelin, who would go for the Renault team – and they would pick the teams that they thought could win the championship, naturally enough, and they would pay them accordingly, because there would be a very significant budget there.

“And I don’t know how you will get the competition in there without having the freefall of the big money. I just don’t know what’s going to happen.”

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