• Tyre news

Michelin makes contact with FIA

ESPN Staff
August 26, 2013 « Hamilton not giving up on title despite Vettel's lead | McLaren keen to keep Button and Perez in 2014 »
Michelin would want a change to 18-inch rims if it returned to Formula One © Sutton Images

Michelin has made contact with the FIA to confirm it could be willing to supply tyres in 2014 if changes to the regulations were made.

Rumours that Michelin was seeking a return to Formula One were growing throughout the weekend at Spa-Francorchamps, with Pirelli yet to sign a contract to continue supplying tyres beyond the end of this season. In an interview with Le Figaro, Michelin director of competition Pascal Couasnon confirmed the tyre manufacturer had made the FIA aware of its position.

"We have already sent [the FIA] messages, and the general public also," Couasnon said. "Our position is known. If they are willing to discuss, to see how we can use and present the tyre differently we are ready to do so.

"I can confirm: there is no rendezvous planned with Bernie Ecclestone ... If there should be discussions, they will lead with the FIA, with Bernie Ecclestone, but also in the company of the teams."

Having said he was surprised rumours had surfaced, Couasnon warned that the current format of rapidly degrading tyres did not interest Michelin.

"I was surprised by this announcement, but I'm starting to get used to it. Two weeks ago, I read that we should hold a press conference to announce some things. However, there is nothing going on ... Formula 1 is a world where there are many rumours. Besides, I do not know who might have interest in the launch. What is true, however, is that we are present in Rally and Endurance racing and soon Formula E. Of course we follow F1 closely but the way in which it is presented today we do not like at all. It disappoints me and even makes me almost angry. Changing a tyre after a few laps, or even a few turns, does not offer a beautiful image of an important product for the automotive industry."

Couasnon also said that one of the areas the FIA would need to compromise on would be changing the current wheel size, and admitted time was running out to do a deal for 2014.

"One of the challenges will be to bring a bigger tyre to the vehicle. If F1 is ready to move to the format of 18-inch rims, we'll go running! This is assuredly one of the conditions for a strong commitment.

"There is necessarily a time limit or it will not be possible. It has to leave us the physical time to produce tyres. Let's say the end of October; it may be too late ..."