F1 tire size a deal-breaker for Michelin
By Alan Baldwin
LONDON (Reuters) - Michelin has no interest in supplying tires to Formula One unless the sport agrees to make them bigger, a change motorsport head Pascal Couasnon feels sure will happen eventually.
The French company and current suppliers Pirelli are the only bidders for the three-year contract from 2017, when rule changes could be introduced to make the cars quicker and harder to handle.
Michelin have stressed that their bid depends on a change of tire specification from 13 inch to at least 18.
"If the sport decides to stay with 13 inch, we respect it but it would not make sense to us," Couasnon told Reuters during the season-ending London round of the new electric Formula E series.
"That’s where we are going to wait for the next time (the contract is up for tender)," he added when asked what would be the response to no change.
Michelin supply 18-inch tires to the world rally and endurance championships and Formula E.
The current FIA tender document opens the way for an increase in diameter "if the tire manufacturer feels there may be advantages to the competitors by doing so."
Couasnon said the transfer of technology was important for Michelin and F1 tires needed to have a smaller sidewall and be more similar to those used by regular drivers as well as longer-lasting. Continued...