French tyre manufacturers Michelin have handed in a proposal to the FIA to be Formula One’s next tyre suppliers. This spot has been held by Italian manufacturers Pirelli for a significant period of time – and the manufacturers have significant backing in the form of F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone. Pascal Couasnon, the director of Michelin Motorsport, confirmed in an official statement that they had entered.
Couasnon said Michelin bosses had been discussing and toying with the idea of entering Formula One for a while, and were finally acting on it now. They found Formula One lacking “tyre-wise”, and “had ideas” to improve it.
Michelin is the current supplier to Formula E, a lower class of FIA racing, and uses broader rims – at 18in, rather than Pirelli's current 13in rims, which Couasnon described as “a thing of the past.”
Bernie Ecclestone has been vocally critical of Michelin and their desire to become an F1 tyre manufacturer, saying they would make “rock-hard” tyres that would last from “One January” to the next December for fear of being criticized. He was also unhappy with the aesthetics of the tyres, calling them “horrible looking.” He further said he did not think the tires “needed changing”, and everything was “working well.”
The tender process for new manufacturers to submit proposals closes today, the 17th of June, with only firms which comply with the technical and safety regulations put forth by the FIA permitted to be in consideration.