It was announced yesterday that tyre manufacturer Michelin are “50/50” as to whether or not they will apply to become F1’s tyre supplier in 2017.
At present Pirelli are the sport’s sole tyre supplier, however, the Italian manufacturer’s deal expires at the end of 2016.
The FIA have opened a tyre tender and reports have suggested that Michelin could be interested.
For now, though, the French company has yet to decide. In an interview with the media yesterday, Michelin competitions director Pascal Couasnon stated the following about returning to the sport as follows:-
‘We are giving ourselves a few days to decide but as we stand now it is at least 50/50. We have our ideas and we have talked about these ideas and we want to give the possibility to the teams to apply them well, so I would say that in the next few days we will finally decide and next week we will know what is happening.’
Based on what Couasnon said to the media yesterday, it would seem that they are evaluating their options and awaiting on feedback from the sport regarding the ideas have they needed to the necessary authorities and that a decision based upon the results of this will be announced to the public.
As for Michelin’s recent statements that it would only enter F1 is the sport swapped to wider tyres, Couasnon added the following:-
‘It is clear that Michelin is open and willing to discuss things like this (the current diameter tyre) but we believe it would not make sense in respecting the tyre so it will be extremely difficult for us.’
Even though it is clear that Michelin are open to new possibilities happening in F1 in the near future if they took over from Pirelli but all they can do is wait and see what happens as a result of their talks with FOM, the FIA and the teams in the next few days. Do I see Michelin returning to the sport? Maybe, but only on their terms.