With just twelve hours until the deadline for tyre manufacturers to submit their applications to provide F1’s rubber from 2017-2020, Michelin have declared that they will deliver tyres to allow drivers to race ‘at the max’ if their bid is successful.
The French manufacturer confirmed that it has tendered its bid to become F1’s sole supplier on Tuesday, and is adamant that its approach will be beneficial for both teams and fans.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Michelin’s motorsport boss, Pascal Couasnon, confirmed that 18-inch wheels were part of their bid: “Whether we’ll be selected or not, we’ll see. But I’d say we want to be coherent with our proposals and offer the opportunity to the teams and the drivers to have a tyre that enables everyone to express themselves and drive to the max.”
“It will bring the pleasure back to racing. This hopefully should bring a show. We’ve seen this weekend in Le Mans that we can get a super show and performance.”
“It would be wiser to talk about F1 through a technical challenge rather than hearing drivers saying ‘I can’t attack or go faster because of the tyre. So everybody could find satisfaction to see a candidate who wants the sport to be talked about in a positive way, rather than in a negative way.”
In the interview, Couasnon reiterated that Michelin would be in favour of a tyre war to promote their development – an idea that the sport’s bosses and teams have stated they are against due to cost implications.
Despite this, Couasnon has confirmed that Michelin would be happy to be the sole supplier for F1: “We have always been open to rivalry. Our position is that what’s important is to have a technical challenge to make us progress. Will we be able to learn some things for tomorrow’s tyres?”
“One of the solutions is indeed to have a rival facing you: in that case, you have an immediate challenge and motivation. But there are also the rules.”
“When you are not allowed to change tyres and refuel at the same time at Le Mans, the teams need tyres that can handle several stints. So even without rivals, you’re being challenged in a technical way by your clients. That’s what we want to do in F1.”
“If there are several tyre suppliers, perfect. If there is only one, then a switch to the 18-inch and a show made with tyres that you don’t change every 10 laps is already a pretty nice technical challenge that will be useful for all of us.”
Two horse race
It would appear that the FIA will only have the straight choice between Pirelli and Michelin for 2017-2020, unlike previous tenders with other manufacturers such as Hankook threw their hat in the ring.
The FIA has yet to announce when the winner of the tender will be declared, but I will be sure to share this as soon as the news breaks.