Michelin has confirmed that it has submitted a bid to the FIA to become F1’s sole tyre supplier for the three-year period from 2017-2019.
Pirelli, currently in the middle of its second three-year contract, is also re-applying for a third term in the role. The deadline for the tender process is this week.
Michelin said on Twitter: “We have submitted our F1 proposal to the FIA 18 inch of course and #drivetothemaxtire for the driver pleasure.”
As the Tweet made clear Michelin is pushing for “racier” tyres, and it wants to have an 18ins low profile size, which would gel with what it does in categories such as Formula E and the WEC.
However, F1 insiders remain unconvinced about that route. The wheels would be heavier – Pirelli says its GP2 test car gained 4.5kgs per corner – and it would require all teams to undertake a total redesign of brake and suspension systems.
There are also commercial aspects to the decision, as Pirelli has been paying large sums for trackside advertising and so to the Formula One organisation, and clearly Michelin would be expected to match that commitment.
Michelin was previously involved in the sport from 1977 to 1984, and again from 2001 to 2006, winning a total of 102 Grands Prix. Bridgestone was the sole tyre supplier from 2007 to 2010, before its withdrawal led to Pirelli returning to the sport.