It has been announced by the FIA this afternoon that they have officially opened up the tyre tender process for Formula 1 for three seasons from 2017.
Current tyre manfacturer Pirelli’s contract expires at the end of 2016, but the process has already started to discover which organisation will take on the next three-year contract.
Michelin, last involved in the sport in 2006 has suggested to the media over the past week that it would love to return back to the sport and is interested in doing so; but only on the basis it can supply longer-lasting rubber and on 18-inch rims.
There are moves that are being discussed at the moment to alter the width of the rear tyres from 2017, from the current 375mm to 420mm, to offer a more aggressive look for the cars and in turn provide better racing.
With regard to the tender process, companies are invited to become the single supplier by submitting a proposal by the 17th June with the selection procedure to commence the day after. By the 17th July, only those candidates whose proposal complies with the technical and safety requirements will be put forward for final consideration.
The FIA has made clear to the candidates that “whilst the wheel diameter is currently set at 13 inch, this should not preclude an increase in diameter if the tyre manufacturer feels there may be advantages to the competitors by doing so”, with details to be supplied.
It is to be understood in the paddock that they there are discussions in place whereby the number of dry compounds could be increased from four to six in the future; but nothing has been confirmed nor denied about this as of yet.