Michelin has just submitted a bid to once again become the sole tyre supplier for Formula One. Michelin currently supplies tyres for the World Endurance Championship and could replace Pirelli as F1’s official tyre partner.
One of the key conditions of Michelin’s bid is that F1 cars adopt 18-inch wheels with low profile tyres rather than the 13-inch wheels currently used. Additionally, Michelin wants to create rubber that lasts longer than the tyres currently provided by Pirelli.
Discussing the firm’s proposal, Michelin motorsport chief Pascal Couasnon said “The tyre used as an object you throw away after a few laps, or whatever, is not really something that is good for the tire industry. I also understand people say Pirelli has done a good job, but if I listen to the teams and drivers, not everybody agrees on that. If the request is for more pit stops then there is a way to provoke them, but also with tires that do not degrade as much. Maybe we need to find a solution that respects some guidelines. What’s important for us is being able to propose some ideas.”
Michelin previously provided tyres for Formula One between 2001 and 2006 alongside Bridgestone. Despite the tyre manufacturer creating tyres for a selection of racing series around the world, Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone isn’t keen on them returning to the sport.
While speaking with Autosport recently, Eccelstone said Michelin would “make a rock-hard tyre you could put on in January and take off in December because they don’t want to be in a position where they can be criticised”.