Ferrari was not happy with the way the tires were performing and their driver was struggling to be competitive. Drivers had learned that their tire supplier was a part of the equation and so any criticism was kept behind closed doors. That is until Michael Schumacher, at the height of frustration, commented publicly about the Goodyear tires.
If memory serves correctly, this prompted an odd exchange from Goodyear’s head of European operation with something gin the neighborhood of, “Who does he think he is? God?”
Goodyear had enough and promptly left the sport after 33 years of supplying teams. They had won titles and races but the new 1998 regulations would see narrower, grooved tires introduced and the Akron, Ohio-based tire maker wasn’t keen on the changes.
As far as Goodyear was concerned, Schumacher was their main protagonist and his criticism had been swallowed for some time but when it was clear that the other teams were much faster on Bridgestone’s, Schumacher felt Goodyear we...