Pirelli and Michelin will be running neck and neck to get Formula 1’s 2017 three-year tyre contract. Sources have revealed that only Pirelli and Michelin have entered the bid to become the sole supplier for the sport post-2016 up until 2019. While Michelin’s pressing hard for switch to 18-inch wheels as well, the current tyre supplier Pirelli is desperate to get the contract and is said to be ‘willing to do whatever the sport demands’.
Ever since the news broke that Michelin is going to compete in the F1 tyre bid, both tyre makers have been engaged in an off-track war of words over the matter. Michelin wants to introduce 18-inch rims like in Formula E racing series while also providing different compound tyres to drivers so they can push harder and for longer. Pirelli, on the other hand, seems quite baffled by Michelin’s demands and wishes the sport to continue with the current set of rules.
Speaking to reporters post-2015 Austrian GP on Sunday, Paul Hembery, Motorsports division head at Pirelli, said, “We can only reply to the rules and we have said we will supply what they want. Do you want to do 20-inch? We will do 20-inch. Tyres that last the whole race? We will do that. Tell us what you want and we will do it.”
Further, Pirelli slammed Michelin’s demands as Hembery added, “It would be like an engine manufacturer turning up and saying they will only come in if they can have a 2.4-litre V8. The rules say it is a 1.6-litre turbo.We can only supply what the rules say we should supply.”
Pirelli has been associated with the sport since 2011 and thus far, it seems to be doing a commendable job. This is also the reason why a number of manufacturers in F1 have also backed the tyre-manufacturer and want it to be retained as the sole supplier again. It remains to be seen who wins this the contract between the two tyre manufacturer though! Stay tuned.