Michelin submits proposal to be F1’s tyre supplier

Clermont-Ferrand (France), June 17 (IANS) French tyre manufacturers Michelin has submitted a proposal to become Formula One’s next tyre supplier.

With Federation Internationale de l’Automobile’s (FIA) deadline for the tender process closing on June 17, Michelin and current supplier Italian manufacturer Pirelli appear to lock horns for the three-year deal starting from 2017.

“Yes, we have entered. The reasoning is we’ve been proposing ideas, talking about Formula One and that we are disappointed, especially where it is today tyre-wise,” Michelin Motorsport director Pascal Couasnon was quoted as saying by autosport.com on Wednesday.

The director said only complaining about the now existing Pirelli tyres would not be a solution and therefore Michelin wants to provide one.

“If we want to be credible and consistent then you cannot complain or comment if you don’t bring solutions.So it has made sense for me to say if we have ideas, then let’s go and propose these ideas, and we’ll see if people are interested or not.”

“At least then nobody can say to us, ‘well guys, you are talking, but you are not acting’. Now, we are acting,” he said.

Couasnon also confirmed that Michelin’s bid is based on using 18-inch rims, as is currently the case with its supply to Formula E, and longer-lasting rubber.
“Those proposals remain, more than ever,” insisted Couasnon.

“In making a proposal we are trying to change the situation a little. We believe the image of tyres in Formula 1 is not what we would like to do, or makes sense.
“The tyre used as an object you throw away after a few laps, or whatever, is not really something that is good for the tyre industry.

“We say there’s another way to ensure a good show, as we saw over the weekend (at Le Mans), with high-technology tyres lasting with good grip, and you can have a show,” he said.

Formula One Chief Executive Bernie Ecclestone had earlier said Michelin’s return would not do Formula One much good.

The 84-year-old had said the French manufacturer would “make a rock-hard tyre you could put on in January and take off in December because they don’t want to be in a position where they can be criticised”.

Ecclestone has often been heard voicing his support for the Italian giants Pirelli, yet despite the opposition to Michelin, Couasnon said: “Obviously we respect what Bernie wants to do.

“I also understand people say Pirelli has done a good job, but if I listen to the teams and drivers, not everybody agrees on that.

“If the request is for more pit stops then there is a way to provoke them, but also with tyres that do not degrade as much. Maybe we need to find a solution that respects some guidelines. What’s important for us is being able to propose some ideas.”

Couasnon also feels it is the right time for Michelin to return after they had pulled away from Formula One after the end of 2006 season as the company was unhappy about the move to a single-supplier from 2008.

“We love the sport, but we believe there is something better than can be done today,” said Couasnon. We are not saying we are right, but at least we would like to contribute to the sport, and bring a little bit of innovation.”

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