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F1 2023

Supplier refuses to produce 'self-destructing' tyres for F1

The tyre tender process for 2025-27 has been launched, but one possible candidate would like a change in philosophy.

Hamilton Norris
To news overview © XPBimages

Michelin says it "cannot agree" to supply Formula 1 tyres that "destroy themselves" as it ponders a potential return to Grand Prix racing.

The French company has not dismissed the idea of supplying F1 tyres again, having withdrawn at the end of the 2006 season after the tyre war with Bridgestone.

Current supplier Pirelli's deal expires at the end of 2024, with the FIA recently opening the tender process for a three-year period between 2025-2027 for a sole supplier, ruling out the opportunity for a so-called tyre war.

In its time away from F1, Michelin has supplied rubber to series such as the WEC, MotoGP and Formula E, but needs to see big changes before it would consider bidding for the F1 contract.

Michelin need to see changes

"First, we need to remind ourselves why Michelin is in racing," CEO Florent Menegaux explained to The Drive.

"The first element is not about the show. It's not about the brand. It's about the technology.

"We are in racing because it's the best way to very quickly live test new technology. That's the first reason.

"The question is, how do we leverage technology to have a good show? And that’s where F1 comes into play, because we have been discussing with them for a very long time – and we are not in agreement.

"Because they say to have the show, you have to have tyres that destroy themselves. And I think, we don't know how to do this. So, we cannot agree.

"Teams should be understanding tyre performance and capitalising on the fact that the tyre is going to be performing from the first lap around the circuit to the last.

"The drivers will tell you they want to be at their maximum all the time. And when I hear the drivers in Formula 1 – I like Formula 1 – but they say no no, it's not possible [to push every lap]."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Pirelli's brief from F1 has been to create tyres which degrade quickly to offer more strategic variance between teams, although most just manage their tyres to avoid making more pit stops.

As RacingNews365.com previously wrote, whoever does succeed and gain the new contract in the tender process must adhere to the FIA Environmental Strategy, obtaining a three-star rating Environmental Accreditation during the contract.

The current 18-inch tyres, introduced in 2022, are also expected to be maintained when the new contract starts in 2025, with the successful bidder needing to factor in the vast technical changes for 2026, which are set to feature a big rise in torque demands with the new power unit rules.

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