Michelin may replace Pirelli in F1

4th September 2013

Michelin tyres has been in discussions with the Formula One (F1) governing body FIA about taking over from Pirelli, according to high level sources within the sport.

The manufacturer last supplied tyres for the sport in 2006 and has reportedly told teams in the F1 paddock that it can supply tyres at late notice, ahead of next season.

This could be what the teams are looking for as there has been widespread discontent among them after a number of high-profile delaminations and blowout.

June's British grand prix at Silverstone saw Sebastian Vettel, Sergio Perez, Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa, Jean Eric Vergne and Esteban Gutierrez all suffer serious tyre-related incidents.

Further issues at the last race in Belgium resulted in many of the drivers asking for further assurances on the performance of the tyres.

Sources at Michelin are reportedly keen for a return to the sport and a spokesman told the BBC the firm is interested, but the move would require some changes in regulations.

It is thought this could relate to the fact Pirelli have been asked to provide tyres that degrade by F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, in a bid to make the sport more exciting and increase the number of pit stops required during a race.

Michelin believes that this approach is opposed to the growing requirement and demand for environmental sustainability within the sport and the wider world.

However, one sticking point could be that the FIA has already signed a new commercial contract with Pirelli, which could lead to cars running Michelin tyres around tracks that are adorned with the sponsorship of rivals.

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery described the prospect of a tyre supply tender now, just months before the start of next season, as "farcical".

"If you wanted to do that then it should have been done in September of last year. Everybody will look ridiculous in that scenario," he explained.

Despite his concerns, some reports have suggested that Michelin began testing F1 spec tyres earlier in the year in preparation for a return to the paddock.