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Michelin decides against 2020 return

NEWS STORY
31/08/2018

French manufacturer Michelin has confirmed that it will not be submitting a tender to return to Formula One in 2020, admitting that it has a number of reservations about the demands.

Though delighted at the sport's move to 18-inch tyres, the French manufacturer which provided tyres for F1 between 1977 and 1984 and then again between 2001 and 2006, is not happy with the prospect of supplying 13-inch tyres for one season (2020) or the demand for controlled tyre degradation.

"We have received the technical specifications on which the FIA call for tenders has been issued and we have studied it carefully," said the manufacturer in a statement.

"Michelin's recommendations for a switch to 18-inch tyres, as in Formula E, have been taken up by the authorities, which we are delighted about," it continued.

"However, the demand for the supply of 13-inch tyres for the 2020 season alone, as well as the deterioration of performance as a part of the show, goes against our principles of efficient resource management and respect for the technology of a sustainable tyre.

"Michelin has therefore decided to refrain from any response to this invitation to tender and will continue to follow, in conjunction with its governing bodies, the developments of Formula 1 in the coming years."

"The nature of the tyre that we currently run, everyone can see the nature in which racing is governed by the characteristics that we inherit," said Haas's Ben Agathangelou in reaction to the news. "Obviously, it's been a massive evolution in the sport over the last four or five years with respect to understanding and managing how we make use, and strategic use of the tyre behaviours that we find. I think ultimately I can't speak for Michelin's motivations: they're a great company, I've certainly worked with them in the past and they were more than capable of delivering what their set objectives were - more than that I can't speak on their behalf. Certainly, we're just in the business of making best use of what we're given."

"(It's) very difficult to judge and to comment," added Ferrari's Mattia Binotto. "I know that the FIA is dealing with the tender; they are doing it by themselves and have started the process and are setting the targets. We have not been involved in the matter. So, without being involved, difficult to really to give a judgement, but I think as Ben meant. So, it was just mentioned that if Michelin does, somehow, make their choice, certainly they have gone, for them, what is the best choice."

"My thought is that we are in front of this usual discussion between what is the best for the show and what is the best for the performance," added Aldo Costa. "Of course, for the performance, specifically of tyres, and the current situation is not the best, but for the show, according to the work that has been done, the discussions that we have done for many, many years, this was the trend that the strategy group and the F1 community wanted to go.

"So I think we need to define the objectives, the objectives need to be defined by the government or at the end by the people that are part of the strategy group and if for the good of the show, the good of the sport, we have to take a certain direction, the single tyre manufacturer has to follow. There are no other chances, really."

"All I can say is that we've got a lot of respect for Michelin history, for their story, for their technology and also for their decision," said Simone Resta. "And if their strategy is not compatible with the F1 business model, with the direction we're trying to develop, I feel sorry for that but it's one of the times that two roads cannot meet each other at some point."

Michelin's decision leaves Pirelli and Korean manufacturer Hankook as the only remaining interested suppliers.

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1. Posted by Schnauzers, 31/08/2018 16:40

"One area in which F1 is missing a point is on the question of tyres. Back in the late '60's, Jack Brabham proposed a serious reduction in the increasing width of racing car wheels, returning to what was at that time a similarity to road car wheel widths. This proposal was knocked on the head by Brabham's then contracted tyre (and money?) supplier, Goodyear (specifically Leo Mehl). In conjunction with the resulting car width reduction, he saw a further benefit available for overtaking if track corner widths were to be increased. He was most likely right - narrower tyres would have to be harder to last so they wouldn'nt shed loads of marbles for others to pick up off line, and wider corners would allow a 'wider' choice of lines. Of course it didn't happen then & will not happen now, but I can dream on!"

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2. Posted by GrahamG, 31/08/2018 16:17

"Great shame that the one company who could have supplied decent tyres to F1 is pushed out in favour of the current incompetent supplier"

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