Tag Archives: Michelin

FOTA narrows down choices to Pirelli and Michelin

Folowing another FOTA (Formula 1 Teams Association) meeting after the Monaco Grand Prix, it has been revealed that the teams have narrowed their choice for 2011 tyre supplier to Pirelli and Michelin.

Prior to this meeting, many other companies were in the running, such as Cooper Avon and Kumho. However, according to Stefano Domenicali, only two option now remain. He stated:

"No decision has been taken yet. I think, give it another week and
maybe by next weekend we will have found a solution.

There are now only two possibilities, though - Michelin and Pirelli.
I don't see any other option."

Their decicion was supposed to be made this weekend, but an agreement has not yet been reached. Eric Boullier has said that a decicion must be made by the next race in Turkey in two weeks time:

"It has to be, because I think there is a technical issue that if 
we wait too late then nothing will be ready for next year. It has 
to be done by Turkey."

So far, we are not sure about which supplier the teams are tipping towards. Pirelli do not bring as many terms and conditions, althoug Michelin have technical and commercial benefits that Pirelli do not. The main problem with Michelin, it seems, is that they are insisting on having a rival supplier, something many feel is not appropriate in F1 at this time.

Over the Monaco GP weekend, Pirelli may have been the favourite, although that could well change by Turkey. Personally, I would prefer the Italian company, as Michelin bring too many conditions to convince me. But, as we know, commercial interests often win in Formula 1.

Cooper Avon in negotiations for tyre supply in 2011

It has emerged that Cooper Avon is in negotiation with FOTA about supplying tyres for next season, despite the fact that a provisional deal appears to already have been agreed with Michelin in principle.

For a tyre supplier to be allowed into F1, they need the unanimous support of the teams (FOTA), Bernie Ecclestone and the FIA. Michelin are currently looking for a chance to supply tyres in F1 again, but with certain conditions. They want at least one other manufacturer to battle with, and it is believed that they want 18-inch wheels on the cars instead of 13-inch wheels at the moment.

It has been reported that Bernie Ecclestone is not in favour of a deal with Michelin, possibly because of the conditions attached, and that he wants a different manufacturer instead. It is possibele that Cooper Avon would be able to use former Bridgestone employees to service the tyres, and ensure they are up to F1 standard.

It is currently unknown what FOTA’s stance on the situation is, as they are currently in negotiation with Cooper Avon, and they have provisionally agreed a deal with Michelin, so they may want both manufacturers in the sport next year.

A meeting with Bernie Ecclestone has been orgainised with FOTA representatives at the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday, as he has not yet told the teams what he wants to do for 2011. FOTA appear to want to know what tyres they will be using next year by the Spanish Grand Prix.

I’m not yet sure who I would prefer to see supply tyres next year. As we have already seen, tyres are critical this year, and that would tip toward Michelin, as they have plenty of recent Formula 1 experience, up to 2006. While Cooper Avon can get former Bridgestone employees to work with them, I still think Michelin would be easier.

But, the French company has brought their own conditions, something which has not impressed Bernie Ecclestone. At first, wanting another manufacturer looked like it could be possible, but asking for 18-inch wheels as well is asking for quite a bit. Having said that, I still think they will get a supply contract next year, possibly with Cooper Avon competing against them.

Michelin refuses to be sole supplier of tyres in F1

Michelin F1 tyres

Michelin F1 tyres

The French tyre manufacturer Michelin has reitered its stance on a possible return to supplying tyres to Formula 1 teams next year, saying that it will not enter if it is the sole supplier.

At the moment, the FIA are on the lookout for a new tyre supplier, as Bridgestone will be pulling out at the end of the year. Having been a supplier of tyres from 2001 to 2006, Michelin were initially touted as a possible replacement. However, they have stressed that they will not return as a sole supplier, says a Michelin spokesman:

"We are interested in but it must be done in the right way, so 
who knows what will happens.

Certain things have to be done. We must have competition - we do 
not want to be the only supplier. Also, we need to be able to use
the opportunity of having competition to improve our tyre 
technology; for example, our new Pilot 3 road tyres have technology 
developed for Le Mans in them. We need something like this from 
Formula 1 too.

Finally, it must have the possibility to improve the greenness; 
perhaps we would like something like the Green X Challenge in F1 
something to help ecology."

First of all, let’s ask, why would Michelin want competition? This is mainly because their new objectives are to promote environmentally friendly tyres. By gaining access back into F1, Michelin would obviously want to promote tyre technology, which they would then put on their road-going tyres, like they did with the Pilot 3 tyres that they mentioned.

So they want to save the planet? Simple solution: reduce the amount of tyres that are used. Again, doing this is simple:  just bring back the old “one set of tyres per race” rule from 2005. Sure, there were problems, mainly Kimi Raikkonen’s problems, but sufficient technology should sort that out. Again, innovations in tyre technology can be put onto the road in this case. If you can develop a tyre that can provide sufficient grid for an entire F1 race, then this could be used to promote their road-going division.

The probable reason why Michelin want a second supplier is that they can beat them with better technology. If a company like Avon or Goodyear come into F1, then get slaughtered by Michelin, it would do wonders for Michelin’s reputation. Of course, the French company would still have a lot to do, after what happened in Indianapolis 2005. We won’t forget that in a hurry.

Michelin discussing return to F1

Michelin F1 tyres

Michelin F1 tyres

Tyre maker Michelin is in “formal discussions” with the FIA, concerning a possible return to Formula 1 for the company. The French team had previously supplied tyres in F1 from 2001 to 2006.

With Bridgestone announcing that this will be their last year in F1, the FIA are on the lookout for a new tyre supplier. It is rumoured that Yokohama and Avon were looking at the possibility, but these rumours appear to be unfounded.

According to Bloomberg, Managing Partner for Michelin Jean-Dominique Senard said:

“We might consider returning but there are some very clear conditions. The major point is to make sure the tyres show what they can bring to the automotive industry.”

It is understood that Michelin’s conditions are relating to environmentally friendly products. The company’s new direction appears to be in protecting the environment with their tyres. So, if Michelin could produce an F1 tyre that lasted a full race distance, and maybe the materials could be recovered afterwards, it would be a great image for the company.

Of course, when many think of Michelin, they think of Indianapolis 2005. I don’t blame these people, it was a disgrace, but I believe that it would be good to see them back, as long as they bring something innovative to the sport.

The one tyre that nearly single-handedly threw them out of the sport... Ralf Schumacher's tyre at Indianapolis 2005

The one tyre that nearly single-handedly threw them out of the sport... Ralf Schumacher's tyre at Indianapolis 2005

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