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Michelin proposes one-brand tyre war

NEWS STORY
06/09/2018

Though it is not submitting a tender for F1 this time around - leaving Pirelli and Hankook as the only bidders - Michelin hasn't given up on a return to the sport. Indeed, the French manufacturer has some interesting proposals, including a 'tyre war' featuring just one supplier.

Ahead of Friday night's deadline for tenders to supply tyres to F1 from 2020 to 2023, Michelin effectively said it wasn't interested and wouldn't be making a submission.

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 - admitted that it is not happy with the prospect of supplying 13-inch tyres for one season (2020) or the demand for controlled tyre degradation.

Though it will not be submitting a tender this time around, Michelin's motorsport boss, Pascal Couasnon, insists his company hasn't given up on F1, and is looking to return, but pretty much on its own terms.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, Couasnon said that his company's experience and success in other forms of racing could be brought to F1, to the benefit of the sport.

"Is F1 good today? That would be my question," said Couasnon. "The sport and the manufacturer would have to take a risk, but compared to today...

"Look at MotoGP," he continued. "We bring three types of tyres for the front and the rear, and the riders can choose. You then finish the race with three different combinations on the podium.

"The best compliment we have received from journalists is that Michelin has recreated a tyre war with one brand, and that is what we would love to do for F1.

"Let's not forget also in endurance racing, for example, in GTs, we deliver specific tyres for each car because there is such a difference between a Ferrari, a Porsche, an Aston and a Corvette. And nobody complains because we work hard to give the best package possible, so everybody can fight. That is the philosophy we would like to bring to F1."

Referring to the decision not to submit a tender this time around, he said: "When we were informed of the key elements, we looked at it and fairly rapidly we saw that there might be some very serious roadblocks.

"Obviously the first one was the fact that we had to start development of 13-inch wheels, which really didn't make sense. It would bring a lot of cost to something about which Michelin had a very clear position. Budgets are restricted and we need to make sure that we use the money on something that is useful for motorsport but is also useful for the car of tomorrow. So that was one very serious roadblock to start with.

"Nevertheless we were very encouraged with the fact that F1 has taken into account that proposal of Michelin (for 18-inch tyres) that we made in 2010 and that we have been able to implement in Formula E," he added.

"The second issue in terms of philosophy was having tyres which degrade, and that again is something that we are not in favour of: spending technical resources and money for something that is not useful for the driver of tomorrow.

"Michelin wants to use technology to support the show, we are not just saying okay: technology for technology's sake and we don't care.

"You see that in Formula E, you see that in endurance racing, that it is possible to have a fight and a nice show with very good tyres. And the key thing is to really develop the package which helps the driver to express his talent and fight. We don't believe degrading tyres to build an artificial strategy is the way to go for tyres."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 06/09/2018 20:45

"Would like to see more than one tire manufacturer and let them bring whatever they come up with."

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2. Posted by Nortim, 06/09/2018 19:34

"Wow! That's one great proposition."

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3. Posted by JClark-Monza1967, 06/09/2018 19:28

"Couldn't agree more. I would love to what Michelin would bring to F1."

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