Hankook draws positive mid-term conclusion: "iON Race meets Formula E specifications 100 percent"
Half of the 2023 Formula E season is behind us. Eight races in six cities with different track surfaces have been completed. One topic of conversation, especially at the start of the season, was the new tire from Hankook, which is more durable than its predecessor from Michelin, but thus also more difficult to bring into the optimal temperature window. Hankook's Motorsport Director Manfred Sandbichler draws a positive mid-season conclusion.
"We have worked closely with the FIA and Formula E officials in the development of the tire. What was required was a tire that works both in the dry and in the wet," explains Sandbichler.
"In addition, it had to meet sustainability requirements and therefore be particularly hard-wearing and made of recyclable materials. For a single header including all free practice sessions and qualifying, the teams only have two sets of tires available, and for a double header three sets."
"So far there has not been one puncture"
His conclusion at the halfway point of the season: "The new Formula E tire (...) has mastered the tasks so far with aplomb. The Hankook iON Race meets the specifications of Formula E 100 percent! So far, there has not been a single puncture. And that, with such different track surfaces and external conditions."
"Whether asphalt, concrete, coarse or fine-pored, whether great heat, such as in Cape Town, or cool temperatures and rain, as in the race in Berlin - our tire has mastered all tasks and reliably provided the drivers with the necessary grip," said the German. "Hankook has arrived in Formula E, and that makes us proud!"
Hankook is nonetheless working on your new rubber compound, Formula E co-founder Alberto Longo confirmed to us only during the Berlin E-Prix. However, an introduction is unlikely to come until the Gen3EVO vehicle upgrade, which means the 2024/25 season. Looking ahead to the Gen4 era of Formula E, the series is even considering the use of slicks.
"Formula E tires not affected by fire in our factory"
It is also possible that Hankook's decision not to make any changes to the rubber compound yet for next season could be linked to a fire that raged in March at one of the manufacturer's South Korean factories. The fire certainly had an impact on global supply chains, forcing Hankook to move tire production to another plant and even to stop supplying the Japanese Super Taikyu Series.
But the incident has no impact on Formula E, Sandbichler confirmed to 'Autosport'. "Luckily the Formula E tires are not impacted in the fire at our factory. For this year’s season we have no problems at all because the tires for this year’s season are already produced. For Formula E no issues at all."
The next race for the Hankook tire is already scheduled for Saturday. That's when Formula E starts in Monaco. Since the track layout has not changed compared to the previous season, lap time comparisons between Gen2 and Gen3 are obvious.
For the Monaco E-Prix, Hankook is once again using colored design elements on the Hankook iON Race - as it did for the season opener in Mexico: The tires feature colored tread grooves in orange and blue. However, the colorful accents have no influence on the tire's performance. Free Practice 1 in the Principality starts at 7:30 am (CEST) - to be followed in the Livestream on e-Formel.de. Race start is at 3:00 pm (CEST).