Tyremaker Firestone has incredibly reversed its decision to quit the IndyCar Series at the end of the year, and it has now announced it will stay on for at least a further two years.
After sixteen consecutive years of support in the American open-wheel racing scene when it returned to ChampCar racing, Firestone announced last week that it was going to withdraw its support from the sport, a decision that was universally met with dismay among key figures in the series.
The original had left the series in a difficult position, especially given that it was also introducing a raft of new technical regulations for the 2012 season, where team had hoped to be testing these concepts by the middle of this year.
A crisis meeting of the series’ team bosses was held this week, and it appear that their efforts have been successful, with Firestone not only announcing a reversal to its original ‘quit’ decision, but that it had also extended its involvement by a further year as well.
“We feel that this new supply agreement will benefit everyone. It provides a proven safe and reliable Firestone product for the transition to the all-new cars for 2012. We have to thank everyone at Firestone for working with us to help ensure the best for the long-term growth of our sport,” said a no doubt relieved series boss Randy Bernard.
“While we’ve reached the pinnacle of success in the IndyCar racing, we’re happy to extend our relationship with the IZOD IndyCar Series through 2013, and to continue our winning partnership,” added Firestone racing boss Al Speyer. “Meanwhile, we will continue to evaluate all options for promoting the Firestone brand inside and outside of motorsports, as the Firestone brand is a very important part of our business.”
The contract extension currently only applies to the IndyCar Series and not the feeder Indy Lights series, which will (unless Firestone decides to broaden its reversal announcement to include the Lights series) have to source an alternative tyre supplier and series title sponsor.