Michelin eager to make a return to F1
The French manufacturers want to take over from current contract holders Pirelli, whom F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is said to favour.
Over the past few years a lot has been talked about tyres, and the general view among the F1 fraternity is that they want to see a change in the way the tyres perform so that drivers can give their 100 percent without having to nurse their tyres. Pirelli have, over the years, come in for a lot of criticism and recently the debate to spice up Formula One has been at its peak.
Recently, tyre supplier Michellin have shown interest in making a comeback to the sport after having huge success in the Le Mans 24 hours endurance race.The supplier is all set to go head to head with Pirelli for the next tyre-supply contract that runs from 2017-19.
But Michelin have emphasised that their bid to return to the sport depends on the sport changing its tire specifications.
"If the sport decides to stay with 13 inch, we respect it but it would not make sense to us," the company's motorsport head Pascal Couasnon told Reuters.
Currently, the tyres used in Formula 1 are of a 13-inch diameter, and the manufacturer wants to develop tyres on 18- or 19-inch rims.
"We need more modern sizes with a smaller sidewall which would bring us closer to reality with high-performance or super high-performance cars," explained Couasnon.
"That means, yes, a minimum of 18. If it's 19, why not? On that we are flexible. "Where we have a major issue, and it is a [deal] breaker, is if the sport decides to stay with 13 inch, with a big sidewall. We don't really see an interest."
Speaking about their success in the world of sportscar racing particularly Le Mans, Cousanon said "When you see what is going on today in sportscar racing, the great battle we had at Le Mans, where it was pretty much a sprint for 24 hours. It was interesting to listen to Nico Hulkenberg say 'I was tired', that the race was a fight for 24 hours, and he could go to the maximum all the time,” he added,
"Our proposal is we want the driver to be tired at the end of a race, so we want to give them good mechanical grip, to be closer to reality so our investment in terms of technology can be useful and transfer from track to street.”
All in all, Michelin seems to be eager to return to F1 and produce tyres that last longer than the current ones produced by Pirelli.