I think the front tire was designed by an intern freshly out of school.
He was assigned this task because no other engineer was interested...
He had a month to do it, which he spent partying.
Then the day before the deadline, in full panic mode, he took a sheet of paper, drew a donut and having no idea how to design tread he just drew dashed lines all around.
When his boss saw that design he was perplexed, but then the intern had an idea. He said "you see having all this empty space between the knobs will save us a lot of rubber!
His boss was so impressed that he hired him right away!
And this is why we have this crappy tire...