Since 2011, Pirelli became the only tyre manufacturer in Formula One. In the many years of existance of the Queen of Motorsports, we observed many different manufacturers in the sport, sometimes even a few during one season. Brands such as Bridgestone, Michelin, Goodyear, Dunlop and Continental had their share in many seasons of the F1 championship.
Over the past few year many have complained about the current tyre situation. Not only has Pirelli became the only supplier, with no competition, but also the amount of different compounds and their names became confusing for the fans, and have been targeted as a part of many jokes. For the season of 2019, Pirelli already announced that they want to simplify the names of the compounds. In the current season of 2018, we have over 7 different compounds: superhard, hard, medium, soft, supersoft, ultrasoft, hypersoft. We now have 4 different compounds of the soft tyres, and for many it became hard to differentiate which one is which. The behavior of the cars also became pretty predictable on certain compounds (if F1 was not yet so predictable...), and some of them are used more then other ones. During the Italian GP, Pirelli has admitted that they have potential competitors for the contract for the 2020-2023 season, and one of the manufactures pointed as the competition is most likely Hankook. Despite having a close eye on the F1 championship since their step back, Michelin, one of the most possible manufacturers to join (again), decided to not participate in the seasons of 2020-2023. The boss of Michelin motorsport, Pascal Couasnon, has expressed that their approach is similar that the company has in the MotoGP championship. He said that by bringing different compounds sometimes even per car (like in the case of endurace GT's racing) should be a risk worth taking to make sure everyone can compete in the championship. Unfortunately, Michelin decided to pull back from entering F1 in 2020 due to the new regulations for the tyres as well as the costs of developing such tyres and compounds.
Is a new tyre supplier and a different approach towards compounds something that we would like to see in F1? Most definitely. The current situation developed by Pirelli is at times too predictable and if the possibilities would be broader, the entire spectacle of the Queen of Motorsport could benefit from that. Would more manufacturers decide to take part in the contract negotiations for the season of 2020? For that to see we need to wait a little bit more.