Michelin still have a chance if Bernie gets a deal from Todt


Each day we edge closer to one decision F1 will not prevaricate over for very long.

The bids for the tyre contract to be the single supplier to Formula One between 2017-2019 are moving towards a final decision.

Both Michelin and Pirelli have satisfied the FIA’s requirements, though exactly what they are is not clear. Now the decision rests with Ecclestone as the ‘promoter’ of the sport.

The conditions of the bid to tender are set out in the current regulations agreed for 2017 and beyond, and the approach of Michelin and Pirelli has been quite different.

Speaking on behalf of the Italian tyre company, Paul Hembery confirms: “In terms of the technical aspects, we’ve said we’ll comply with the requirements of Formula 1.

“If they want to make changes to the regulations then we will give our maximum endeavours to follow them.

“We will follow the rules and comply with the decisions of the teams, promoter and the FIA”.

Yet Pirelli have increasingly failed to follow the guidelines agreed with the teams and Ecclestone, over the performance characteristics of the tyre. This is that races should predominantly be tyre restricted and that a target of two to three changes of rubber should be necessary for each driver.

Pirelli more or less delivered on this objective until the advent of the new V6 Turbo Hybrid engines, then unfortunately the average pit stops per race has slowly fallen and stands at just over 1.5 per car this season.

Michelin have taken a different approach, and believe that they can influence the current debate in Formula One over the kind of regulations for 2017.

The outlook for the French manufacturer is not good, because earlier this year Bernie Ecclestone described the Michelin approach as being to “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”.

Given that Pirelli sponsor the up coming Hungarian GP together with extensive race by race track side advertising – all of which swells the coffers of Bernie’s FOM – Michelin are up against it.

That said, the president of the FIA Jean Todt is said to favour Michelin’s approach, though without some kind of agreement between Todt and Ecclestone on other important matters, the impending decision from Bernie looks predictable.

It could though be that Ecclestone extracts big concessions from Todt over customer cars/teams or any number of other ideas he has failed to push through the strategy group. This then could open the door to Michelin being appointed as the next F1 tyre supplier.

F1 fans who long for flat out ‘pure’ racing may take heart from this possibility, though Pirelli have been modeling well this year what one stop Formula One races really look like.

9 responses to “Michelin still have a chance if Bernie gets a deal from Todt

  1. michelin should be given the opportunity to showcase their latest tyres. the LMP1 cars were able to race pretty much ‘full chat’ on each and every stint and the tyres are both grippy and fast/durable. mark webber, when asked about tyres, replied, ‘pirelli make tyres for the ‘show’ and michelin make tyres for racing’. says it all really.

  2. How about a hard tire that lasts, but doesn’t have the grip so it slides, and a soft tire like now: when do you change tires? Strategy.

  3. Are you ignoring of forgetting that races have been heavily fuel limited this season and turbulence has heavily contributed to processional races? There is a lot more going on than your well rehearsed ‘Pirelli’s hard tyres are hurting the 2015 show’.

    • The reason for two compounds and tire degradation is to create enough of a performance variance to overcome the aero turbulence and enable on track passing opportunities.

      Pirelli has admitted they’ve missed their mark so far this season. What is your point?

  4. Races have never really been flat out ‘pure racing’… there has always been some element of limitation, be it driver fatigue or reliability, whilst fuel and tyres have been a factor for decades

    All this ‘fan based’ criticism over the past few years shows is a lack of understanding

  5. In one hand: yes, please, real tires.
    In the other: can’t the useless Todt take ANY decision?

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