F1 tire tender now in Ecclestone's court
By Alan Baldwin
BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Bernie Ecclestone will decide whether Michelin or current suppliers Pirelli secure Formula One's three-year tire contract from 2017 after both companies passed a technical and safety hurdle.
The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) said on Wednesday that the two had met the requirements to become approved bidders and had been submitted to the sport's commercial rights holder.
Ecclestone, the commercial supremo who represents controlling shareholders CVC, will conduct negotiations with both and make a decision for the FIA's World Motor Sport Council to approve.
The FIA body's next scheduled meeting is on Sept. 30 in Paris.
Michelin withdrew from Formula One in 2006, a year after a farcical U.S. Grand Prix that went ahead with only six cars after all the Michelin-equipped teams pulled out on safety grounds.
The sport has had a sole supplier since then, with Bridgestone replaced by Pirelli in 2011.
Ecclestone indicated earlier in the year that he favored retaining Pirelli, who also invest heavily in trackside advertising.
"All Michelin would do is make a rock-hard tire that 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 criticized," the 84-year-old Briton said in May. Continued...