A fire at Hankook’s Daejeon plant in South Korea has put the tyre manufacturer’s ability to supply rubber this year for several single-seater series at risk.
The fire took place on March 13 and led to all production at the facility being put on hold, as well the loss of a large amount of manufacturered stock that was stored in some of the buildings that set on fire.
Although the brand has manufacturing plants in Europe and the USA, the Daejon plant is the biggest in scale of production and the majority of the tyres from there are exported. It is also where the majority of its tyres made for racing come from.
Hankook has notified the series that will be impacted, which in junior single-seaters includes the Formula 3-level Euroformula and Super Formula Lights, Formula Regional Americas, the new FRegional-based Eurocup-3 series and the Spanish and United States Formula 4 championships.
FRegional Americas and US F4 have already got their 2023 seasons underway, while Euroformula’s opening round takes place next month and SF Lights, Eurocup-3 and Spanish F4 all start in May.
Due to the pause in operations, loss of stock waiting to be exported and the legal procedures that Hankook will now have to be going through following the fire, the impact on its ability to honour supply commitments could be as extreme as being totally unable to fulfill its racing contracts in Europe (which also includes sportscar and touring car series). In this instance, series may now have to search for a new tyre supplier at late notice.
Reports claim that 11 people needed treatment due to smoke inhalation.