After indicating the desire to return to Formula 1 as tire supplier early this year, Michelin has formally submitted an application to become the 2017-2019 official tire supplier after Pirelli’s contract runs out next season.
Michelin’s bid though comes with certain conditions. First, they want to use 18-inch wheels instead of the current 13-inch that F1 uses because they believe this is more in line with their road-going products.
Second, Michelin wants less degradation and more reliability from the tires that they will supply F1. This will go directly against F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone’s directive of making the races ‘exciting’ by having insubstantial tires to force multiple pit stops.
"We are disappointed where it is today tire-wise. If you 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. We want to be coherent with our proposals and offer the opportunity to the teams and the drivers to have a tyre that enables everyone to express themselves and drive to the max," said Pascal Couasnon, Michelin's motorsport director.
On Michelin’s website, they’ve also indicated several factors that will have to be addressed before an agreement with Formula 1 is made including making ‘safety and performance’ a key component and also ‘providing a technical challenge’ by changing certain rules.
Michelin has also broached the idea of retaining a ‘tire-making competitor,’ something Formula 1 hasn’t done since 2006 when both Michelin and Bridgestone were tire suppliers.
Pirelli’s contract will end after next season and they have already expressed desire to renew.