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Michelin boss confirms they are ready to come back to F1
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Posted By: James Allen  |  27 Aug 2013   |  9:48 am GMT  |  239 comments

One of the notable stories in the background of the Belgian Grand Prix weekend was the renewed push on Michelin to come back to F1, either to compete with or to replace Pirelli.

And in yesterday’s Le Figaro newspaper in France, the current boss of Michelin sport, Pascal Couasnon, confirmed that the company was ready to come back to F1, as long as the decision is made by the end of October and the FIA is willing to change the character of the sport, away from fast degrading tyres. Michelin also wants an undertaking that during its tenure F1 would move towards 18 inch wheels; in other words towards a lower profile tyre.

Meanwhile current supplier Pirelli is spending significant money on developing its 2014 tyre and say they “have to assume that it’s going to be okay.”

Whereas Michelin has previously insisted on an open competition against another tyre maker, that condition of entry has now been dropped,

“We have always said that the presence of a competitor interests us,” said Couanson. “However we have evolved our thinking on this and now the absence of a competitor, which would have been a problem in the past, isn’t any longer. Today we are ready to go in alone, as long as there is a technical challenge, even as a single tyre supplier.”

The story of Michelin gazumping Pirelli has ebbed and flowed over the last few months, but this interview in France is quite a strong statement and follows strong indications last week that the return of Michelin is now a real possibility. “It’s real,” one of the F1 team bosses told this website in Spa on Sunday.

The current situation is that Pirelli has a commercial contract with Bernie Ecclestone’s company and with most of the 11 F1 teams, including Red Bull. It was eight before the summer break but Pirelli’s Paul Hembery said at the weekend that he had been busy signing other teams (without saying who) and Le Figaro claims that now 10 teams are signed up. Force India is certainly one that has not signed.

But crucially Pirelli does not yet have a contract as tyre supplier to the FIA. This has been something of a consistent battleground between Ecclestone and FIA president Jean Todt, who made a public rapprochement in Hungary, promising to sign a new Concorde Agreement soon.

Michelin were the other bidder last time the tyre supply contact came up, but the teams went with Pirelli, partly on a cost basis – the tyres cost each of them in the region of two million euros a year.

However the debate over fast degrading tyres – leading to more pit stops and different strategies and exciting finishes – has polarised the sport and many of its fans. Speaking to teams over the weekend, even ones who feel aggrieved by Pirelli’s mid-season switch to more durable tyres, there is a certain anxiety about returning to the processional racing of the past, on “perfect” tyres that barely degrade lap after lap.

What an F1 car on 18" wheels might look like


If Michelin is to return, it will be to showcase its technology, not to create a show. It has apparently developed a slick tyre that cane run in the wet and Couanson is adamant that if it comes in, the sport must accept a change of culture,

“We really don’t like the way F1 is presented today, not at all,” he said. “It disappoints me and even angers me. You don’t create a good image of such an important automotive product, a tyre, by changing it every few laps or even every few corners.”

This last point and particularly the way it is expressed with obvious exaggeration, is interesting. Couanson is clearly dismissive of Pirelli and its willingness to risk its image for the sake of a sporting show. Of course the Italian company has also run into problems with tyre failures this year after the disastrous experiment with the steel construction, which led to the worrying scenes at Silverstone with a series of high speed tyre failures.

These occurred partly because of the way the teams were operating the tyres, swapping them around, running extreme camber angles and low tyre pressures, which Pirelli tolerated earlier in the year, but no longer.

It is interesting and instructive to speak to teams like Lotus who have not had any problems with the tyres and even Force India, who had a failure on Paul di Resta’s car in Spain, but otherwise were performing well on the steel belted tyres and have struggled since the change. Although they mastered the difficult tyres, there is also concern about going back to a perfect Michelin tyre and the risk of F1 becoming a procession again with the outright fastest car at the front every time.

Even engineers whose job is to pursue excellence, admit that F1 isn’t always very exciting when there is nothing to throw a spanner in the works and upset the natural order, beyond the odd rain shower.

It is a debate F1 needs to have quickly as time is running out for Pirelli or Michelin to produce the tyres for 2014. As the incumbent with a realistic expectation of remaining so, Pirelli has had to do extensive work on 2014, which may go to waste if F1 turns its back on them and embraces Michelin.

“We are working towards 2014 and are spending a lot of money for 2014,” said Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hembery in Spa. “We have contracts in place and hope people will want to adhere to them. It’s a bit farcical really; it’s September in a week’s time. We are obviously working for next year with the teams who are on board and the promoter on board. So you have to assume that it’s going to be okay.”

It’s not just a discussion over who supplies the tyres, it’s about what kind of sporting show F1 wants to project to the world.

Tyres have been too big a talking point over the last few years, sometimes for the wrong reasons,

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239 Comments
  1. Chris Chong says:

    There can’t possibly be two tyre suppliers AND a testing ban – it would severely handicap the teams that unwittingly opted for a brand of tyre that is less suited to their car.

    If Michelin comes in, Pirelli is out.

    1. Richard says:

      Let’s put it this way if a durable tyre ran alongside the high deg. ones then the teams would vote with their feet. I think in the interests of a level playing field we should stick to one manufacturer.

    2. Wayne says:

      I would hate to see two competeing tyre suppliers. This would introduce yet another false disparity. The car on the best rubber will win period if one supplier nails it, all else is equal and the other is even slightly off par.

      We will go to a track and hear all about how this track is a Michelin track and that one was a Pirelli track etc. That will lead to half the cars having an advantage at certain tracks…

      Let Michelin come in or make Pirelli produce tyres befitting the world’s most advanced motor racing formula.

      We have DRS and KERS, let’s loose the tissue-paper tyres. I’d rather see 10 skillfull overtakes per race than 20 that are all about one car being defenceless because of the tyre phase it is goign through. Most of the tyre related overtakes are not even overtakes as the cars are in different phases of their tyre programme.

      Why does F1 go out of its way to distort the natural order? It’s perfectly normal for the fastest car to start on pole and finish first? That’s pure sporting and engineering achievement. When a great football team plays an average one, it’s perfectly acceptable for the great team to score first and finish ahead. Nobody calls it boreing, rather fans get excited about the skill on show and celebrate it.

      Teams spend millions on developing the fastest car/driver package and then are scuppered by false unknowns like these ridiculous tyres all so the TV magpies can coo over how many ‘overtakes’ the race had. I’d rather appreciate just how much hard work, innovation, commitment and skill went into making the fastest car/driver package that started on pole and finished first. That’s what motor racing is supposed to be about, not how many artifical overtakes can we cram into a race to satisfy the drooling masses.

      I want to see HAM and ALO drive their cars flat out for 50 laps please! I want their skill in driving fast to count more than their skill at saving tyres please!

      (Besides, we’ve introduced all this fake nonsense and we’re going to have had the same WDC for 4 years in a row pretty soon – some might say that this is boreing, and those same people will surly think that the tissue paper tyres have achieved nothing when you get right down to it.)

      1. James Allen says:

        It’s unlikely you’d have a tyre war as they would demand testing and that re-introduces huge costs

      2. Jodum5 says:

        I don’t understand the assumption that competing tire manufacturers automatically calls for unlimited testing. They’ve already expanded testing for next year, why can’t they manage with that? A more detailed explanation would be great.

      3. Chris Chong says:

        Jodum5 – If teams need half a season to get to grips with tyres, I can’t imagine they’d benefit enough from a few extra test sessions. And bear in mind that these are with tyres which were supposed to have their specification and design locked down at the start of the season.

        With two tyre companies, there’s no way they’d agree to a locked-down design at the start of the season because it would be a marketing/brand-image disaster for the company with the ‘lesser’ tyres.

        So, assuming that the tyres will be continuously developed as a season progresses, unless the teams have access to unlimited testing again (or at least test sessions that coincide with new tyre designs), they’d be showing up on grandprix weekends with tyres they have never seen before and would have to cram tyre-evaluation, setup work AND aero work into the already limited test sessions.

        I can’t imagine anybody agreeing with this.

      4. Jeff says:

        +1

        And it would also raise the spectre of a repeat of the Schumacher years, with one team getting special rubber and the others having to fight for the scraps.

        Quoting Gary Anderson,
        “When I was involved with Bridgestone tyres with Jordan in the early 2000s, in the middle of the tyre war with Michelin, Schumacher and Ferrari had tyres we were not even allowed to look at. They cost so much money that Bridgestone could not afford to supply them to everyone. And whenever we did have an opportunity to run a derivative of those tyres, our lap times were much, much better.”

        I don’t want a return to that.

      5. Monza71 says:

        The quote from Gary is proof or what serious F1 enthusiasts knew at the time : Under Jean Todt, Ferrari and Michael Schumacher had several very significant advantages over the other teams, even the other Bridgestone runners, so much so that it’s hardly surprising they had such a long winning run.

        Red Bull, on the other hand, are well on their way to achieving a similar run without any beneficial treatment.

        Compare, for example, the very limited test program in 2013 with the unlimited testing open to Ferrari in the Schumacher era and on their own private test track !

        In other words : Red Bull’s achievements are looking more impressive by the week.

      6. madmax says:

        And Michelin produced scraps for Alonso and Raikkonen back then??

      7. Bryce says:

        Nor do I.

      8. PB says:

        Does that not amount to cheating? I know each team had their own contracts back then, but still this sounds almost too unfair to be true!

      9. Lee says:

        Well look at Bridgestone’s line up vs Michelin’s line up. Its completely logical that they had to put all their eggs in the Ferrari basket.

      10. Random 79 says:

        Some good points in there Wayne, but that last one was probably the most interesting.

        Here’s the thing:

        2010: Good on Bridgestones with a close title fight.
        2011: Rubbish on Pirellis with a Vettel whitewash.
        2012: Good on Pirellis with another close title fight.
        2013: Complete shamozzle on Pirellis. Messing with tyres, too much politics, and still another Vettel whitewash (at least so far).

        So why are 2010 and 2012 easily the two best years for F1 out of those four, and why are 2011 and 2013 both rubbish on Pirellis when they are supposed to be better? Even looking back from 2007-2010 on we had close title fights on Bridgestones.

        I still shudder at the thought of Indianapolis 2005, but then again you could argue that Silverstone 2013 was worse.

        So I know I’m probably going to regret saying this, but bring on Michelin.

      11. James Clayton says:

        Indianapolis didn’t Michelin tell the teams NOT to race on safety grounds? 2013 Silverstone Pirelli told told the teams there would be nothing to worry about…

      12. Random 79 says:

        @James

        Yep agreed, that’s why I said that Silverstone was arguably worse. The argument for Indy would be that it did huge damage to F1 in the US, but frankly for me popularity in the US doesn’t even begin to compete with ensuring driver safety.

        Pirelli was at fault, but don’t forget that the teams were also at fault – they didn’t follow the guidelines and so paid the price.

        Sure you could say that Pirelli should have produced indestructible tyres capable of landing a speeding space shuttle in a hurricane, but as far as I’m concerned if you knowingly use a product incorrectly and know that you’re going beyond it’s limits you should have a big L painted on your forehead.

      13. Yak says:

        To be fair, in 2011 Vettel in that RB was just ridiculous. They could have just done without the tyres and driven around on bigger rims and still have taken both titles easily.

        If anything, when you consider the year after, a year when everyone bitched and moaned about the tyres for the first half of the year…would 2011 have been a closer battle with more fragile tyres to hold back the RB?

        Of course the other thing is, it’s kinda pointless calling Pirelli rubbish based on the last few years and comparing them to the Bridgestone years before. Pirelli have basically been told to make tyres that fall apart, only they’ve had to do it with bugger all testing. Do we really think Pirelli couldn’t make durable tyres for F1 if they were asked to and were given some testing time?

      14. Andrew C says:

        I agree entirely with you but sadly even if they corrected the tyre issues, we’ll still now have a new ‘fabricated’ variable next year with economy runs and fuel savings being the limiting factor. It really feels like the FIA are just too proud to listen to the real fans and see what they want.

      15. All revved-up says:

        Well said. I too am in the group that doesn’t see a need in F1 for tyre wars. It would detract from the team, driver, car and power unit variables that already makes F1 interesting and exciting.

      16. shortsighted says:

        I am under the impression that the FIA wants F1 racing to benefit the general public by filtering the technology down to the everyday cars and tires. What are we now getting from Pirelli without a tyre competitor? Tyre that can disintegrate easily, that degrades quickly and will not last. What beneficial advancement we are getting from the only tyre supplier, Pirelli, I have no idea.
        Changing to super-charged engines with more than one engine suppliers is costly enough. Why not bring in more than one tyre suppliers? I want better tyre for my street cars.

      17. Mad Kiwi says:

        I just had an idea. One that might help resolve Michelins requirements AND allow for a tyre “war” between multiple manufacturers….

        The tyres can be as good as they like BUT softs can last a maximum of 12 laps and hards a maximum of 20 laps. Liek now you have to have used at least one of each compound during a race and even IF the tyres can perform longer the driver must change them at the 12 and 20 mark respectively…or whatever is decided….each race/location could be a different length limit.

        I am sure the manufacturers will then work towards making the fastest tyre possible within this framework i.e. a techincal challenge…

        However it ensures that multiple tyre stops are done AND one of each tyre must be used.

        Thoughts….holes in my theory…?

      18. Mad Kiwi says:

        OOps, I see allrevvedup has a similar idea further below….my bad.

        Would still like to see some discussion about the idea…it might merit…might have a great big flaw in it…

      19. Optimaximal says:

        We have DRS and KERS, let’s loose the tissue-paper tyres. I’d rather see 10 skillfull overtakes per race than 20 that are all about one car being defenceless because of the tyre phase it is goign through.

        As opposed to one car being defenceless because the chasing car is allowed to use a device that removes a chunk of downforce AND a rulebook that prevents more than one defensive move?

      20. Ben says:

        The cars are Only defenceless due to their own tyres being worn out. If the tyres didn’t wear out ridiculously quick then drs usage would bring a car closer and not make it too easy. It’s needed because cars of today create massive amounts of drag, slipstreaming barely works any more. Back in the early 2000′s slipstreaming was easier due to the cars creating less drag.

      21. Mario says:

        +1
        well said and I much agree with this false over taking situations drivers are finding themselves in

    3. Marc says:

      F1 would go in self-destruct mode with two manufacturers on the grid. Either P or M, but certainly not both!!! As for tyre longevity, the FIA really got it wrong. I say keep the tyres long lasting and if pit stops are a necessity to keep some form of entertainment and show great team work by the crews, then make one compulsory at each race, regardless whether the tyres are in good shape.

  2. Spyros says:

    If we agree with Michelin that the fast-degrading ‘show’ tyres are a bad idea (and I certainly do), then why can’t Pirelli be the one who makes the tyres that last forever? Hembrey has said on many occasions that they can produce such tyres, if the teams (and the sport in general) want them.

    Beyond all that… yes, we want to see low-profile tyres, PLEASE! The current ones are outdated by about three decades!

    1. Richard says:

      I certainly agree about high deg. tyres, however low profile tyres is very far reaching and is a fundamental change as suspension systems would have to be far more compliant.

      1. Lux's Bandaid says:

        Indy car does it

      2. Spyros says:

        …along with absolutely everybody else!

        Yes, such a change would be far-reaching, but it is nothing that hasn’t been done before.

      3. Richard says:

        Everything else is more crude, less highly developed than F1. Currently F1 cars rely on the tyres to provide some of the compliance necessary so if we went to low profile tyres it opens a whole new can of worms. Not saying it could not be done, as of course it could, but it would certainly have a significant effect on the cars, and indeed the tyres thenselves, and the characteristics of the cars.

      4. Justa Bloke says:

        as suspension systems would have to be far more compliant.

        So ? Watch some of the f1 from 70′s and watch the cars move on the suspension, its great….

      5. Richard says:

        A whole different era when F1 cars were quite crude, and less aero dependant. Currently they have to maintain a reasonably consistent gap to the road for downforce reasons.

    2. Quade says:

      If Pirelli (or Hembery) didn’t have the character to stand for quality, then there’s a lot wrong.

      F1 is a sport that operates on the bleeding edge and parts suppliers should have that as their guiding principle, instead of attempting to change the very character of the sport by supplying defective parts.
      This season, F1 was almost marooned by what was essentially a form of blackmail.

      Michelin’s stand from the outset is principled and like a breath of fresh air in an increasing moribund sport.

      1. Random 79 says:

        ‘Michelin’s stand from the outset is principled and like a breath of fresh air in an increasing moribund sport’

        Fair enough, but during Bridgestone’s reign you could have said:

        ‘Pirelli’s stand from the outset is principled and like a breath of fresh air in an increasing moribund sport’

        Shame how it turned out though.

      2. Quade says:

        No, I wouldn’t have said so. I never had issues with tyres until Pirelli knocked on F1′s door.

        The only way to ensure overtaking in a natural way is to take care of aero not muck about with the tyres.

      3. Random 79 says:

        @Quade

        ‘The only way to ensure overtaking in a natural way is to take care of aero not muck about with the tyres’

        Agreed, and wouldn’t it be nice if they actually did that :)

      4. Robert says:

        @Quade: and to return to our long running debate – there is NO way to “take care of aero” and actually have F1 cars that run faster than GP2 and Indy Cars. There simply isn’t – the horsepower difference isn’t large enough. And you would have the continual spectacle of racing with lap times that are _substantially_ down from previous years. And yes, I know we already are short of the unlimited turbo era’s times…but this will be worse.

      5. HR says:

        Yep unfortunately Aero is here to stay. And although the 2010 and 2007 championships were close, the actual racing was terrible. Valencia, Abu Dhabi and Silverstone all started producing fantastic races all because of the wear from Pirelli. I say stick with Pirelli, a return to processional racing with Red Bull dominating every week would kill the sport

      6. Spyros says:

        So you think the high-deg tyres are something Pirelli wants?

      7. Sebee says:

        I know! I think some fans are missing few points.

        Here is the thing; GP last 90 minutes or just a bit more. So devide that in 4 stops and fifith of the life of a grand prix is 18 minutes.or so.

        You see, there is logic to more wear and stops because a GP to a degree represents a compressed time bracket of events. I had no problems with the high-deg tires, and I say ONCE AGAIN, GPs were same speed or faster than 2012 for GP total times even with the extra stops, and Pole was usually 1s faster – that’s with no blowing, no DRS use all around the track, less flexwing.

        And so…we simply didn’t give the formula a chance, and Pirelli was willing to risk it’s reputation to deliver on this request. We should have at least let them finish the season.

        I think it was a mistake to let these tires finish the season, because they were just getting the handle on them like 2012, and they were going to show us what was possible and how things would look like in second part of the season.

      8. Quade says:

        But they made them.

      9. James Clayton says:

        They were the only team to agree to make them, so…

        End of last season Hembo was bragging about how this years tyres would be more degradable than those of 2012, so…

      10. Richard says:

        No they were instructed by the FIA and Ecclestone to create the current formula and artiface through tyres and it’s a shambles.

      11. Wayne says:

        No but Pirelli agreed to put their reputation on the line and deliver it. Bridgestone and Michelin did not.

      12. j says:

        It is interesting to see how much of a lightning rod the tires are. We almost never see similar comments about fuel limits requiring fuel saving engine modes, or ECU’s artificially limiting power, or gearbox and engine limits causing failures on the track.

        Limiting the amount of rubber on the rim draws all the negativity but F1 has become a formula of artificial limits on every conceivable detail. The current cars aren’t nearly as fast as they could be.

      13. Spyros says:

        One complaint at a time, please. Fuel limits are next year’s scandal. ;)

      14. Robert says:

        Everyone knows that the cars are limited – they were simply too fast for a fair number of the tracks. I think that to some degree, these newer tracks that are Tilke-designed or inspired were designed with faster cars in mind. HUGE run-off areas, smaller curbs, replacement of gravel with grass or even pavement, fewer hard walls – in short, everything you would need to help make 1200 hp cars safer. But then F1 backed down (removed the huge turbos), because there is no way to make Monaco, Spa, Monza and a few others safe for 1200 hp cars. And no one wants to ditch the historic tracks. So what we have here is a conundrum – some tracks that can indeed handle faster cars, historic tracks that anchor F1 history that cannot, and a formula that cannot decide how to guarantee a good yet safe sporting event with that dichotomy.

  3. Jarv027 says:

    Sounds like Michelin want to do the whole season on one set of tyres to showcase their technology!!

    Remember 2005 season when they had to do the whole race on one set of tyres. They may want to go back to that.

    We may need to keep the DRS afterall, although 2010 wasn’t a bad season with the low degrading Bridgestones.

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      The on track action was usually notable by its absence in 2010. People remember it for the 4 way title fight that year but that came about due it being only the second year of new regs and the teams sill finding all the tricks needed to get the best from them, so cars were fast at different times of the year.

      Most races were still boring though.

      1. James Clayton says:

        There was the odd dull race in 2010 I grant you, but MOST races were not boring.

        I have yet to see a genuinely interesting race this year.

      2. Andrew Carter says:

        Most were far from exciting as well. OK, this has hardly been a vintage year but I think it just shows going to both extremes is bad.

    2. Wayne says:

      Having one set of tyres per race would be more in keeping with where technology is genuinely at, more in keeping with what road users would desire of the tyres on their car and certainly more in keeping with F1′s efforts at environmentally friendly policy.

      Not saying that’s the way to go, but at least it would be an open, honest and genuine representation of the peak of technology.

      I’d still want to see pit stops so it’s difficult to judge how to go about it…….

      1. AuraF1 says:

        The most obvious way to go would be to introduce a huge disparity in tyre speed versus duration with no enforced tyre stops. So you could literally have an overtaking tyre which lasts barely 10 laps or whatever but allows you to go at least a second a lap faster – and then a durable tyre that could last the entire distance but was hard to race with moving up the field. Removing enforced tyre change would add a new strategic element.

        Or they could just sort the aero out and have any old tyres again ;)

      2. All revved-up says:

        Interesting idea.

        I’ll add my 5 cents – we don’t even need tyre degradation. Just a simple rule that the high grip fast tyre can only be used for [x] laps (say around 25% of race distance). And the race has to start and end on the harder tyres.

        This would make strategies very interesting. You could cover one car, but you can’t cover two cars if they are on completely different strategies.

        With no tyre degradation the drivers can race flat out.

      3. j says:

        Allow double diffusers and whatever else the designers want to come up with but ban the rear wing.

        And set a minimum limit on the top of the driver’s helmet so that they can see where they are going again.

      4. Cliff says:

        I’d go for sorting the aero and smaller brake discs to increase stopping distances/braking zones. I enjoyed the brilliance of MS, but there was no denying that the Ferrari/Bridgestone combo became hard to justify.

        F1 has got itself into position where any decision made going forward will add costs, and with Team Principles fighting their own corners what chance of a structured rule set? In truth, the teams, FIA and BCE need their heads banging together! I was never a big fan of MM, but F1 needs someone similar to him to make decisions.

      5. Sebee says:

        Didn’t we already have 1 set of race tires in Bridgestone era? Wasn’t it forgettable?

      6. Cliff says:

        Yes, but some have short memories.

      7. Wayne says:

        We’ll have a 4 time wdc soon, that too will qualify as boring for many. These stupid tyres have not spiced up the one thing that matters at all: the WDC.

    3. bearforce1 says:

      I think the original idea was good but Pireli couldnt do it.

      Fast tyres that last less and slower tyres that last longer.

      Oh and of course there is the implication that the tyres do not fail.

      1. Andrew Woodruff says:

        Yes – I like the simplicity of your second para, it is exactly right. One of the problems is the rule that all cars have to use both compounds during the race at some stage. It might be better to remove that restriction, but design the compounds with a larger differential in terms of speed/longevity, so there is a genuine choice between slow and steady with one stop, or very quick with maybe three stops. That would be very interesting I think.

        Also, there needs to be an end to the tyre linkage between quali and the race. Everyone should have enough soft tyres to qualify properly without compromising race strategy.

      2. Robert says:

        PIrelli nailed that in 2012 I seem to remember. But people asked for even MORE stops, because one or two of the 2012 races really was interesting with 3 stops, and of course the teams figured out the tyres by the end of 2012, and it was almost a one stop race again. So Pirelli delivered even faster wearing tyres, while trying steel belts (either cost savings or heating characteristics was the reason, depending upon whom you talk to). That combination had a severe problem under high loading, and when being incorrectly used under high loading. But Pirelli certainly have done a very good job with a difficult situation.

      3. bearforce1 says:

        I disagree. I think Pirelli have had a massive fail. Pirelli don’t have the knowledge to do what is needed.

        I canot undertsand how a tyre manufacturer doesn’t know how to make a softer faster quick deteriorating tyre and a hard, slower longer lasting tyre. It just beggars belief.

        I mean we buy tyres for our cars and motorcycles knowing soft sticky tyres are great but don’t last and cost more as opposed our other option to buy hard not so sticky tyres that last longer but don’t handle as well.

      4. Yak says:

        bearforce1 – I think you’ll find road tyres are a fairly different matter to F1 tyres. The requirements are simply nothing alike.

        Also, the road tyre manufacturer can test the hell out of their road tyre products. Pirelli on the other hand have essentially been told to make some F1 tyres and just hope for the best.

        I’m pretty sure you’d have heard if Pirelli tyres on road vehicles all around the world were just randomly exploding, or falling apart after the first trip down to the shops. Pirelli are perfectly capable of making tyres… when they have the necessary resources to do it properly.

      5. Robert says:

        @bearforce: I am just wondering if you are watching the same races I am? In nearly their entire dry tyre line up, the softer, stickier Pirelli tyre has always lasted less than the harder compound. In general, the supersofts (and even the softs sometimes) have just been quali tyres, both this year and last. The ONLY exceptions to that have come at tracks where the temperatures were too cold for the harder tyres, and there were graining issues on the harder tyres leading them to have shorter than planned lives…but that will be the same with any tyres used outside their operating window, from any manufacturer.

        I think the problem is what you are looking for is a harder tyre that doesn’t degrade at all, and the FIA specifically did NOT want Pirelli to make that, period. They wanted a race target of 2 to 3, or even 3 to 4 pitstops per race, meaning using multiple sets of the harder compound. You can’t blame Pirelli for the FIA’s chosen specs – they are the customer.

      6. bearforce1 says:

        Sorry I should have also said the tyres should be consistent. Pirelli couldn’t get their tyres consistent. Pirelli also couldn’t make tyres that didn’t explode/fail.

        The teams are have pretty smart people working in them and they couldn’t work out the tyres because the tyres were not consistent.

        The races were not a race anymore it was a a farce and a lottery.

        I think it is nice that people feel sorry for Pirelli but I just think they are a small and pretty poor manufacturer compared to Bridgestone & Michelin.

        I was also sick of hearing all the rubbish excuses from Pirelli. The excuses were never ending and blamed the proverbial dog eating their homework.

    4. darren w says:

      Lol! I love the single tire for a season idea:-)

      I wouldn’t probably be as harsh (I’m a softy) and allow the teams one set of dry tires for each engine allocated for the season; with the same grid penalties for any extras as teams face for extra engines. I for one would love a performance tire on my street car that has a tread-life equal to the drive-train warranty on my car.

      To honour your one tire/season idea the rules would allocate a single set of wet weather tires to each team for the season:-)

      While I would miss pitstops terribly, if the goal is a demonstration of real world applicability of F1 technology then why not. I mean is the current specified tire life that much worse than a tire that lasts a whole 300km race distance (if we are talking real world applicability of course)? The difference of a tire lasting the whole race is more about marketing illusion than any real demonstration of quality.

      I have a lot of respect for Pirelli stepping up to F1′s attempt to engineer more interesting racing. It is after all and engineering sport. Apart from a couple of incidents that have more to do with F1 politics than anything Pirelli did wrong, it has been very interesting.

      Making the tires a more obvious part of the teams’ engineering challenge is ultimately good, if the sport and the teams commit to helping educate the public, otherwise they just become an extension of the paving and only get noticed when something goes wrong.

      I have personally learned more about tires and how they are used in these last couple of years than I ever imagined. They are really quite a fascinating part of the racing package.

      Perhaps as a Thank You to any tire supplier taking up this tire formula, F1 could include and endurance race on the calendar each year (1,000km) to be run on a single set of tires. It would be a good way to contrast what the sport is asking to spice up the racing and the engineering diversity of the supplier. Throw in a few extra practice days for the teams to dial-in their cars and sweeten things up by making it a double points race. At the right venue and F1 race like this could be fantastic spectacle. Hmmm…a separate F1 race at LeMans?

  4. TGS says:

    Why not have tyres that don’t degrade much but there are three compounds that must be used every race? Is this unrealistic?

    1. Richard says:

      It’s the compunds that provide the degradation so it will be most probably just one. On the other hand a slick tyre that can be used in the wet is interesting!

    2. Jonathan says:

      very unrealistic!

      It is time we removed the need to use 2 types of compound. If the Lotus could make a current set of tyres last the whole race why shouldn’t they.

      The Mercedes couldn’t do that so the racing could be a lot more interesting.

      Compulsory 2 stopping would mean they would all do it and it would be pointless.

    3. JackL says:

      I kindof agree with that idea. If the compounds are sufficiently different then there will be some teams that will be weaker on one tire and it should be fun. But for it to work, you;d need to give Pirelli the ability to make more than just 4 compounds for the dry. I suggest 7. And if at every race you bring a really soft compound which is basically just a qualifying tire then teams will have to pit in the first few laps and that’ll really shake things up. The remaining two would be race tires (a medium and hard lets say).

      They could also mandate that teams have to run a certain amount of the race on max engine settings (e.g. 75%). That way, we dont get processional racing where drivers arent pushing to the maximum.

    4. Harshad says:

      This will be strongly opposed as it will involve a high logistic costs…for tyre supplier which will directly costs more to the teams

  5. Bryce says:

    Michelin can keep their tyres if they wish to provide bullet proof ones.

    1. Richard says:

      On the contrary I would prefer to see genuine racing not the current artifice. Personally I’d like to go back to re-fuelling with lighter cars. – It can be made safer with re-designed system such that the hose cannot be detached when fuel is flowing, and the car cannot move when it is connected.

      1. j says:

        Do you want pit lane safety or don’t you? On one hand people want re-fueling back, safety be damned, and on the other they’re against electric only in the pit lane or are “worried” about tire delaminations for safety reasons.

        We need some kind of consistency and now that the safety card has been played so often on so many issues I don’t think refueling is ever coming back.

      2. Richard says:

        No you are looking at it the wrong way. Of course you have to have reasonable safety, but the technology is available to re-fuel safely given the will. I prefer to see light cars racing rather than fuel laden cars at the start of the race.

      3. Yak says:

        An indestructible tyre will not suddenly give us “genuine racing”. The tyres are not the only limiting factor, and strategy also partly helps overcome the fact that all the aero crap on the cars makes them rubbish for racing. Brilliant for whacking in quali laps. Actual racing? Against other cars also covered in crazy aero crap? No.

        If you want “genuine racing”, get rid of the ridiculous aero for starters. But then, that wouldn’t be F1 as we know it today.

  6. would love to see someone photoshop a F1 car with 18′s , anyone please ?

    Matt

    1. Daniel MA says:

      Look at Indycars they run on 18 already.

      1. Sebee says:

        I have to be honest, I don’t like it.

        Low profile is good on LMP cars and GT cars, but not on F1 cars. Also, can you imagine the stiffness and how much you would have to change the suspension and soften the cars? I bet you 18s on F1 car would probably give concussions to drivers in a GP.

      2. first thought was i dont like it , but each time i look at it .. it grows on me more.

        Just think of the size of brakes they could fit ?

        would bigger brakes help racing ? would reduce breaking distance i guess ? which from what i remember does make it harder to overtake …

        Matt

      3. Yak says:

        There a few factors to consider though. Yes it could theoretically shorten stopping distances. The stopping power they have now is already ridiculous… shortening the braking distance puts an even bigger load on the driver in the car. The other thing is, we see many times over every race weekend that the drivers are more than capable of locking the wheels with the brakes they have now. Bigger brakes won’t give them any more stopping power unless they have grippier tyres that work against them to keep the wheels turning. It could change the feel, but I imagine they’ve got that down to a fine science with the current brakes anyway.

        Where it might make a difference is in temperatures, because bigger will heat and cool differently. But right now I can’t even be bothered to wonder about how that might affect the whacky world of F1.

      4. Andreas says:

        Going to 18″ wheels with low profile tyres would mean you could ditch the hideously expensive carbon/carbon brake setups, and use bigger steel discs. That would provide the same (or less, if you wanted to) braking power but with dramatically reduced costs. And the lower profile tyres (and associated suspension changes) would reduce the grip, eliminating the need for self-destructing tires and DRS. Back to racing and old-fashioned car control, thus – the way Senna made the Lotus dance, as he kept it hovering right on the limit of grip. Where do I sign up? :-)

    2. Basil Binx says:

      I take no credit, this is what a quick internet search yielded…
      http://i67.servimg.com/u/f67/14/67/65/50/red-bu10.jpg

  7. Gabrielle says:

    It’s ridiculous how much the F1 world is scared by the world ‘competition’. They can’t have engine makers developing their products, they can’t have two tyre brands at the same time, they can’t have their drivers fighting to their edge to defend from or to try a overtaking and so on and on. F1 is getting more and more boring each season.

    1. Spyros says:

      …but remember, it’s the pinnacle of motorsport..!

      No wonder fewer and fewer people choose to use this moniker, eh?

    2. Paul L says:

      I agree. I’ve noticed a drop off in competition intensity in recent years and it drains the season of blood. Though we’d prefer mature competitors, 2006-2008 got so hot it almost came to blows. By contrast, it’s as if the storm in a teacup over this year’s Pirelli/Merc test was made a fuss of out of collective boredom.

      Too much centralised control over competitive aspects, as you mention.

    3. All revved-up says:

      F1 was and is still trying to rein in costs. No tyre and engine development meant cost savings, as funding for these expensive developments could be avoided.

      Agree that it has “dumbed down” F1. But getting the balance between costs and all out technology warfare is a tricky call to make.

      If anyone has good ideas, let’s hear them. Personally I’d like to see F1 to be more cutting edge. But easy for me to say, as I don’t have to find the funding.

      Some teams have already indicated that next year’s power units will cost too much for their budgets.

      1. Phillip H says:

        F1′s “cost cutting” measures are like baling out the Titanic with a cup.

        Ferrari’s spend for 2011 was $167 million.
        HRT’s was the lowest with £50 million.

        On the BBC’s coverage at Spa, EJ ran through a list of costs associated with crashing. A front wing apparently costs $150,000

        Really? How is that even possible? Hey, F1 teams, if you are serious about saving money – try these top tips?

        Why not simplify the aero, perhaps back to mid 90′s levels, without all the Lego blocks on the front? Cost saving – minimum of $75,000 per wing.

        Transportation costs – reduce the number of flyaway races. An F1 team travels approximately 100,000 miles per year. Most of which is on expensive airplanes. If you must go to the ends of the earth, have all the races in a “lump” with a week’s gap between each one and then return to Europe. Cost savings – $2,000,000 per team.

        Standardise tyres – have a tyre that isn’t made of cheese and is more durable. Therefore, you won’t use up so many! Cost savings – oodles.

    4. Rich C says:

      Because they got no guts: they’re not in it to win, they are in it to NOT lose.

  8. Ian Pringle says:

    “It has apparently developed a slick tyre that can run in the wet”

    They made their race debut at the 6 hours of Spa last year and all the LMP1 cars have been using them this season. F1 needs to be a platform for developing and showcasing new technologies, not simply catching up with other series.

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      Not last year, this year. It should also be pointed out that their viability is suspect and a lot of drivers hated the feelin from them.

    2. Sujith says:

      Agree to that! Bring back ACTIVE SUSPENSIONS too :P

      1. Sebee says:

        Let’s just turn the tracks into a scalectrix digital set rails with a random shortcut passing zone Y switch. :-)

    3. Basil Binx says:

      Totally agree. WEC is a fantastic series that has been leading the way in show casing new and relevant technologies, and all because they are allowed to compete.

      F1 may have the glamour, but it is being left behind, tinkering with irrelevant aero advancements for tiny gains.

      WEC has been running turbo hybrids for at least a year now with Audi achieving what was previously considered impossible with a diesel engine. F1 could be the forefront of technology but the rules don’t allow it.

      Having said that, I still love F1, but I think there is more potential excitement on and off the track if the teams were allowed more freedom.

      1. Sebee says:

        I think Audi LMP R10 was the warning shot in 2006 season. When I heard that car for the first time at a track under full power I got goose bumps. I never thought “silence” could have such an impact on me at a motor sport event.

      2. Phillip H says:

        Very good point.

        I can’t remember who said it, but earlier this season (it may have been Newey or Brawn) said that over-regulation is killing innovation of the sport.

        The cars are now so similar, one wonders if F1 may as well be a single constructor series. If F1 wants to reclaim its throne as the pinnacle of motorsport, they need to allow innovation and variation.

        ie:

        Allow any engine – remember the variety back in the only days? Do you go for the power of the V12, or the economy of the V8?

        Allow ground-effect.

        Allow exhausts to come out where they want.

        If you want blown diffusers, double diffusers or triple diffusers – go for it.

        Have DRS, KERS or even a big mallet that extends on a telescopic arm to swat the opposition for all I care.

        Have electric motors, petrol, turbo, diesel, doesn’t matter.

        Provided all cars pass stringent crash tests and are safe to drive, fill your boots.

        Also, does anyone know why F1 cars don’t have airbags?

  9. Dai Dactic says:

    The tyre farce is endless . . .
    No firm ‘overall’ contract for 2014 . . ?

    And as for that other ‘important document’ –
    If only they’d renamed it ‘Concorde Disagreement’ it would have been signed long ago.

    Entertainment has triumphed over professionalism to the detriment of the ‘sport’.
    I’m gratified to hear that the engineers’ ‘job is to pursue excellence’ – it would be helpful if management adopted that strategy too.

    1. The Real JC says:

      +1

  10. Sergey says:

    Pirelli has to be praised by taking risks and producing non-durable tyres. Last two seasons were exciting – and the idea to have car abilities being restricted by the tyre is a good thing for sport. Probably the most efficient compared to previous changes aimed to increase overtaking. One may say that in 2010 with bridgestone it was exciting season too – but it my opinion it was more because of Red Bull not being consistent contender all the time – due to number of failures and strategy errors. But the thing is that with tyres not degrading the gaps will increase as they did before and one-two teams will excel. Right now the field is very close and different cars suit to different tracks which is a very nice thing. As usual there are a lot of politics involved into this – but in the end if Michelin would be chosen by FIA and produce their “eco” tyres – it will be really bad news for the sport.

    1. Florian says:

      I disagree with you. As F1 cars doesn’t have to refuel, if they don’t change tires during the GP, they will not have to go to pits. So drivers have to overtake on track. IMO it will make good GP.

      1. Sergey says:

        Strategy is one piece of the puzzle. And IMHO one that is very much interesting for real fans. There are two scenario here – either the tyre does not degrade heavily thru the whole race which is obviously unlikely or the tyre degrades smoothly – this will all end up the same way. In the first case it will be a go-away with the best car pulling away and the peleton being stretched – ferrari era style. This was the time when races were so dull almost all the time. There will be no action on the track. The other scenario is that cars which do not handle tyres properly will fall back – and there would be no chance for their comeback as it is now with different strategies. It is easy to use stats on overtaking, gaps in the peleton and so on – Pirelli’s tyres were the game changer and made me watch all races in last two and a half seasons.

    2. Richard says:

      No I fundamentally disagree it is an artfice, and it also becomes a contest within a contest, and makes it very unfair and unappealing for the drivers.

      1. Sergey says:

        Who cares about driver feelings after all? Obviously they would like to push 100% all the time. Artificial – for whom? From my perspective speeds are still high – well maybe the gap between GP2 and F1 decreased but after all the cars are still fast. And honestly with most action on TV being captured by tele lens we do not really feel the speed. Once you give ability to push to the maximum – races would become a ceremony. Obviously you would still see few battles behind but this is dull anyway. I remember that feeling back in the days – if a car pulls away in the first few laps – it will be like this for the whole race distance – you can either wait for rain to drop or a mechanical failure to occur. Not only because top teams having extra money can develop at quicker pace but because in this case there is higher chance that the same car will be fast on every track. Now it is a compromise – and we have five!!! top teams at the moment.

      2. Richard says:

        Let’s not forget why people raced in the first place, but proper racing is visible anyway. I would prerfer to see reasonably durable tyres with re-fueling so cars run light and fast throughout. Safety concerns can easily be adressed if there is the will.

      3. Sergey says:

        I personally liked the refuel part of the races – the process itself was spectacular sometimes and it was also part of the strategy. On the other side bringing refuel equipment costs money – and the process itself still increases the a chance of an accident (thought a small chance). With 100 kg fuel limit I doubt refuelling will come back.

        However from my perspective either cars have full fuel load or are running near empty – it does not matter unless there is real action going on the track. When different cars handle tires differently, different cars suit different tracks better than the other and even different cars behave differently during the race because of the fuel load/tire wear – this is good for F1. On the other side it does not matter at all if they are running with high fuel load or not when there is NO REAL RACING.

        The bottomline is not about running full or empty – when watched on TV I doubt many people see difference. The thing is that right now the field is close, there is a lot of fight going on and even within a race the same car can go faster or slower. This is due to different factors – tires, testing ban probably – but probably tires is the most important piece.

        Once you allow to push all the time because tire degradation is not a concern – there is high risk of this going away. Though Michelin and its bosses may be happy promoting the brand and stupid “green technologies”. As bridgestone was.

  11. Sanjog says:

    Hmm.. Interesting..Could upset the applecart next year. Michelin tyres + Renault powerplants = winning combination ? Red Bull / Lotus in with a good chance then

    1. Sujith says:

      Yes. Maybe :)

  12. Steve Hopkinson says:

    Didn’t Michelin run their ‘slick’ intermediates at Le Mans this year? Phenomenal technology.

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      They did, but most drivers didn’t like them and opted for the usual grooved inters.

  13. Ben G says:

    Hope Pirelli stays. The sport has clearly benefited from Pirelli’s improvements to the show, but has treated the company shamefully.

    1. Dan says:

      Totally agree. Pirelli have done what they were asked and have made scapegoats for teams taking risks with pressures, camber angles and reverse fitting tyres.

    2. Sergey says:

      Anyway Pirelli can be honored by ignoring marketing rules and producing only “durable” tires. I mean that just this fact by itself is a reason to treat Pirelli better in the media.

  14. Tealeaf says:

    Just wish the tyre war would be back…

    1. MrNed says:

      I hated the tyre war. Michelin worked best at some tracks, Bridgestone at others, and each team’s performance over a weekend had much more to do with the tyres than anything else. If the Pirelli’s have become too big-a-factor in the outcome today, as some people think, then the problem will be infinitely worse if we have another tyre war.

      For me, a control tyre is preferable. It’s the same for everybody, meaning overall performance is much more down to the teams and drivers. Maybe Pirelli’s tyres should be a bit more durable, maybe not – it doesn’t change the point I’m making.

      Maybe if Michelin replace Pirelli, and want to go for durability, the rules should force teams to use sets of tyres over more than one race. A technical challenge for Michelin (as requested) and should add enough spice to avoid processional races.

    2. chris says:

      What and have a two tier grid, with cars that have the right tires and ones that dont?

  15. absolude says:

    Would be great to watch races without the “save the tires” call from lap one.
    In some instances by the third sector in qualy tires were done. Ridiculous.
    Durable tires don’t have anything to do with processional races. Aero regulations do.
    And the fact that some teams just make better cars than others.

    1. Spyros says:

      Couldn’t agree more, especially on the aero. Funny how the one thing that completely ruins F1 is the thing that cannot possibly be adapted for use in road cars (hyper-cars excluded).

      However, we may be on the verge of swapping the ‘save tyres’ pit-to-car calls for more helpings of ‘save fuel’ calls…

      I wonder if Rally-sport is as good as it’s cracked up to be..?

    2. Jim:) says:

      Exactly this is geeting boring now, every one saying we need degrading tyres for exciting races, what we need is the fia the teams to put there heads togeather, and come up with a set of rules, were cars can follow and race each other for the good of the sport. Not keep coming up with half arsed solutions ( unlikely )

      1. Sergey says:

        And FIA did this back in the day :-) All the rule changes in 2000-s did not have effect comparable to the quick tire degradation.

    3. Andrew Carter says:

      It’s been the case for decades that some times by the third sectore the tyre would be a little past their best, nothing new here and it’s been the case with Pirelli, Bridgestone, Goodyear and Michelin.

      As for the rest, there’s about a million races of evidence to prove you wrong.

    4. albert says:

      would be better if the soft tyres were that much faster that they dont have to be saved and get a free pitstop to make a choice.

      should be no rules on tyre make .

      made for great surprises – damon hill being half a lap short of legendary victory for arrows , yamaha and bridgestone . .

  16. Sebee says:

    Gut tells me Michelin is just getting some free ink and a dig at their competitors.

    1. Bryce says:

      Certainly plausible.

  17. Paul L says:

    As I’ve contended, the answer to processional races with performance tyres, is refuelling.

    Though 2006-2008 were outstanding seasons, if fans want more action, we should look at adjustable wings to negate downforce loss when cars follow one another – thus, more overtaking.

    1. Spyros says:

      1. the adjustable wings idea of yours already exists, and it’s called DRS.

      2. refuelling existed in the Ferrari domination years, too. And even as a Ferrari (and Schumi) fan, I’d call those the processional years…

      1. Sergey says:

        Adjustable front wing did not prove to help with overtaking. I was a fan of Schumi too but no, I do not want processional racing with only rain having an effect or a rare case when someone over-sits someone other on the track.
        2006 was good because Renault/Ferrari were close – and both teams had failures. Mostly because of that – and not the action on the track. 2007 was good because of McLaren having to competitive drivers.

    2. Mike Tallent says:

      definitely agree with you there, although there would need to be a lot of work on pit stop safety.

    3. Andrew Carter says:

      You mean like a flap that opens when you get behind another car….

    4. Random 79 says:

      They tried that in 2009, but the drivers really only used it to tweak their DF settings for the entire race.

  18. MrNed says:

    It seems to me that Pirelli will have to be offered a place as suppler next year, even if in competition with Michelin. However, how can we have a tyre war with little-to-no tyre testing? It would be ludicrously dangerous.

    1. Quade says:

      Its simple really. All the teams will look on this season, shudder, then engage top gear in a wild-eyed dash for the durable Michelins.
      Tyre war over.

    2. Steve Zodiac says:

      It would teach F1 a lesson if Pirelli told them to shove it where the Sun don’t shine. I’m surprised they’ve stayed this long with all the bad publicity and the shoddy treatment by the FIA. It always seems to be them that want to mess everything up

      1. Mad Kiwi says:

        Absolutely, well said.

        Treated badly and totally unprofessional. Imagine what the Pirelli board will be saying …”you spent HOW much on preparation without a valid contract for 2014?”

        FIA and Ecclestone and co are a joke on thi subject..

    3. Monza71 says:

      If Pirelli have up to 10 teams signed up, either there is going to be some massive law suits flying about or Michelin will only have four or six cars to supply with tyres.

  19. If they bring back long wearing tyres they MUST bring back fuel stops.

    The racing will be so boring with tyres that last the whole race, it will take a lot of the strategy out of the picture and we will go back to races with little over taking.

    Not only that, but changing tyres to 18″ would need a full re-design of the suspension, this would cost a fortune with all the other changes with the new motor and regs coming in next year already.

    1. Florian says:

      What kind of strategy will they use?
      They have to overtake on the TRACK ! not on the PITS !

    2. Mike Tallent says:

      Or reverse grids :)

      1. ManOnWheels says:

        You like drivers to qualify for the slowest lap?

      2. Geenimetsuri says:

        Reward qualification success somehow.

        With the current points system, you could the old points system in the qualification.

        That way you could gamble a bit: Run a good quali or start at the front for easier points in the race.

      3. Mike Tallent says:

        No, simply reverse the finishing positions of the race before. though you would have to reward points all the way to last place, and a standard qualifying session before the first race would be necessary

    3. Andrew Carter says:

      True, but the article states that they want the change to 18″ rims “at some point”, not straight away.

    4. Ian says:

      There’s a 100kg fuel limit next year so you can forget fuel stops.

      Back in the ’80s there were plenty of very exciting races where some cars would complete the race without a pitstop and others would take one new set of tyres. It was all about balancing performance and degredation and worked very well. Of course there were no “use both compounds” rules back then.

    5. Quade says:

      Strategy?
      Its ballsy racing we want to see.

      The season has become more and more interesting since Pirelli started producing more durable tyres. Who cares for strategy when each car can be a raging missile, driven in anger from start to finish?

      1. Sebee says:

        First you don’t like faster wearing tires, and now you don’t like strategy?

        I think it’s time you and I hook up a retro game of Pole Position II in VS. mode (somehow) and settle this once and for all! :-)

        I play my retro F1 like this, so bring your A game.
        http://www.arcade-museum.com/images/118/118124217719.jpg

      2. Quade says:

        Haha! Wara hell is that?

      3. Richard says:

        +1 Yes I would prefer reasonably durable tyres with re-fuelling, and get back to some proper racing not the current artifice.

  20. Stephen Taylor says:

    Maybe they should remember the 2005 US GP first.

    1. Spyros says:

      You mean the one in the Indianapolis track? Where the high-speed banked corner was a problem? The same corner (reversed) that the US single-seaters take at high speed all day long, with their LOW PROFILE tyres?

      Yes, I’d say Michelin remembers it…

    2. Elissa says:

      You mean the 2005 race where Michelin shod teams tried to bend over backwards to accomodate their short comings??? Even to the point of saying they’d take the penalty of extra pitstops. no points etc??? Michelin buying fans replacement tickets and the likes. Michelin got their tire spec wrong that weekend, but they admitted it was wrong and sought to rectify it, not hide behind PR spiel.

      If it was Pirelli at the 2005 US GP they’ve would’ve said there was no problem and Ralf’s crash in practice was anything other than a tire failure, cue the race happening and then potentally lots of hazardous accident a la Silverstone 2013.

      Pirelli are fantastic at the PR ‘smoke and mirrors’ approach.

      1. Stephen Taylor says:

        Yes it was that race where Michelin runners pulled in the pits.

    3. chris says:

      and 2000-2004 we dont want that again no matter who it is that ends up being at the front

  21. SlimMillipede says:

    I have enjoyed the last season or two with all the unpredictablilty Pirelli have introduced with tyre management. I know it is artificial but it does make for a good spectacle.

    If F1 moves to using the best tyres Pirelli or Michelin can produce we will probably end up with no pitstops (possibly not even for rain if Michelin’s slick rain tyre works). Which will mean that the race will become more of a procession than a competition.

    Either F1 is a racing spectacle or it uses the best technology available. If the latter then they should bring back active suspension, ABS, traction control etc and remove DRS. Just the best technology driven by the best drivers. But would that be worth watching? I suspect it would be pretty boring.

  22. Stephen Taylor says:

    James , do you think Michelin wants the FiA ban pit stops during races? Is it their intention to showcase the use of single set of tyres over a race distance?

  23. Tim L says:

    Jean Todt and Michelin what can possibly be viewed as bad on this ……hum…..this is wrong for him to be involved!

    Perception will be his down fall in the next election, sad on so many levels !

  24. no matter what, pirelli tyres have killed the essence of F1. what we see today is a ‘farce’. to create and accept artificiality just to satisfy the few is a complete nonsense.

    for those that criticise the ‘processional’ racing of the past based on tyres shows a complete lack of knowledge about F1. the reason why the passing was minimal had virtually nothing to do with the tyres. it was an aero problem. hence the adjustable front wings and the much vaunted, but never introduced, downwash rear wings.

    i want to see drivers pushing both their limits as well as the cars limits. these guys are the best drivers in the world and they simply cannot exhibit their skills because the tyres are trash. bring back michelin and their newest technology and then we can go racing again.

    1. James Clayton says:

      to coin Murry’s old phrase “Catching in F1 is one thing, getting past is another altogether”

      Any why SHOULDN’T this be the case? These are supposed to be 24 the best drivers in the 12 best racing machines in the world. Why would you *expect* it to be easy to pass? Once a car is caught, we should be treated to lap after lap after lap of battling. If no pass was made, that because the guy in front was a great defender. We still saw a great battle. Where’s the problem?

      I guess these days Murry’s phrase would have to be something like “Getting past in Formula 1 is one thing, but having enough laps to catch the car in front before the end of the race is something else all together”.

      Doesn’t really have the same ring to it, does it?

      1. Robert says:

        It isn’t “battling” when the car in back loses a huge chunk of it’s aero grip just being behind the car in front, and can only pass with DRS or a huge speed advantage. It isn’t “defending” when the car in front merely has to disrupt the air flow.

  25. Seized Up says:

    I want to see F1 with tyres that *wear* out and driver skill is required to control the wear rate.

    I don’t want to see tyres with fickle degradation.

  26. Raymond U says:

    I’d like to see the return of wet tyres that do a good job at clearing water. It seems that everytime it’s wet enough for “wet” tyres nowadays – we get the safety car. We need more wet races. I miss those.

  27. Elie says:

    James to me the whole Pirelli situation just does not add up. It’s almost like Pirelli somehow sneaked into F1-Im sure that’s not the case. But why have continuously jeopardised their imagine ? Why they would allow an illegal test to run ??’.. There is clearly two parties rallying against one another and that seems the commercial interest – Bernie and the Sporting interests – the FIA. As a fan I definitely want the sporting interests to take a small advantage.

    I understand Hembreys comments about it being a bit late..But his suggestions that its too late is wearing a bit thin,especially given all the dramas we’ve seen and the fact that Michelin are saying leave it no later than October ! Hembrey has been saying it since April !. Is he that comfortable in the knowledge that he has Bernies full backing or is he just a little short sighted to see he could be blind-sided by the FIA.

    The amount of public disapproval at the Pirelli tyres is more than enough reason for change – even if the tyres are ok now. I do not understand the thinking that Michelin will spoil the show. If the regulations say you must use two compounds at every race and there is enough of a performance difference in each compound and only slight performance drop per lap what’s the problem ??. Why are people so hell bent on tyre degradation rather than performance differential- this is the important thing as far as the show is concerned and no tyre company has to jeopardise its image and its mission statement- which I whole heartedly agree with the Michelin boss.

    1. Richard says:

      Actually it’s not Pirelli’s fault at all. It was the FIA and Ecclestone that wanted these ridiculous tyres in the first place so they have become an escape goat. The races are far more interesting when the more durable tyres are used so let’s get back to reasonably durable tyres with re-fueling. The safety concerns can easily be addressed.

      1. Elie says:

        Pirelli are not the only company that can produce reasonably durable or otherwise tyres and as far Im concerned they had their chance.

      2. pirelli could always have said ‘no’. to blame anyone else is just wrong. pirelli went along with the whole farce and it must now wear the consequences. besides just how wrong is it when a tyre supplier can manipulate the compounds to suit some and not all.

        remember at all times hemberys comments, ‘what do you expect? do you want red bull to run away with another WDC/WCC?’

        pirelli are out on their own on this one IMO. they should be shown the door. everything michelin have said, to date, i agree with.

  28. Glennb says:

    I dont see how you can have a tyre war if the brief is to manufacture tyres that degrade at a specific rate. Its just too open to ‘cheating’ by one supplier or another. A tyre war would need to have no such restrictions in order to make it fair. I guess the FIA could still stipulate that 4 dry and 2 wet compounds be produced at a certain width and height but that would be all they could stipulate.
    I may have not put my thoughts into words too well here but hopefully you get where Im coming from.

  29. The Real JC says:

    The season I most enjoyed in recent times was 2010. It was run on “perfect” Bridgestone tyres that barely degraded. The racing was exciting and real. The word procession doesn’t even come to mind.

    Since then I’ve become increasingly disillusioned with F1. 20 years of watching every single race and I no longer care for it. Why? Fall apart tyres and DRS. Overtaking someone who is on spent tyres and can’t fight is neither racing nor exciting. Overtaking someone with the push of a button to gain a massive top speed advantage is neither racing nor exciting. It’s contrived.

    If they’re worried about processional races, they need to drop the gimmicks and fix the regulations. With proper aero regulations the cars will be able to run closer together and then we’ll have both overtaking and racing.

  30. oversteer says:

    Some people have short memories – the last tyre war resulted in Bridgestone prioritising its efforts with Ferrari and in particular Schumacher, producing some of the most boring seasons I can remember.

    Refuelling is also a bad idea – apart from all the fires and near misses that plagued it right up until it was banned, everyone just sat back in the race and waited for the stops to jump their opponents.

    Reintroducing either of these would damage the racing considerably – there’s nothing wrong with it now! Pirelli have tweaked the tyres to give them more life, but I have no problem with drivers needing to use tyres strategically at points, they do the same with engines/KERS rememeber.

  31. Sven says:

    Let both Michellin and Pirelli supply tires to ALL TEAMS which
    they can use as they please at any given time. Lets say 6 sets
    each to every car / event.
    That would be a true competition between Michellin and Pirelli.

    1. ManOnWheels says:

      Teams would quickly evaluate tires during friday and saturday practice and I doubt you would see two different tires in qualifiying and race.

  32. John says:

    Introducing tyres that can last whole race and also without refueling would encourage watching the first and the last lap of the race. There will be not much going on in-between. In such case the downforce would have to be reduced significantly in order to allow for overtaking.
    The performance difference of different tyres could also be reduced. In that way a car that can run the whole race on a softer compound will have more grip and certain advantage. As it is now, the difference in tyre performance is so big that it seems impossible to have two different cars run same number of laps on two different compounds.

  33. Neil says:

    Probably partly moot – the drivers are saying next year will all be about full race distance fuel saving. So tyre performance is far less likely to be near the margin.

    Neil.

  34. Anthony Young says:

    With the teams already having designed the 2014 cars around the Pirelli tyre design, the prospect of a different supplier being drafted in at such a late stage seems ridiculous. More especially as Michelin want to dictate such a big change in the way the tyres perform. On the face of it, the Michelin proposal might be something to consider for 2015, but not for 2014.

    However if Todt has wanted Michelin all along but was out-manoeuvred by Bernie last time, then the fact that Bernie now has his attention focused elsewhere could be the driving factor. Which would be ridiculous, but ridiculous is not unprecedented in F1.

  35. Andrew Carter says:

    I wouldn’t mind Michelin coming back but preferably in competition with Pirelli. As Sunday proved, low degradation tyres arent always a good thing.

  36. Steve Ellis says:

    Bring back real tires. Pirelli whored themselves out to be in F1. If I were a Pierelli stockholder, I’d be very upset with the poor image of the company.

    You don’t want to have processional racing? Get rid of the aerodynamics, which cause dirty air and inhibit overtaking. It will save money as well.

  37. Sujith says:

    James, we can count on you always to give us a scoop on everything that is going on. Keep up the good work :) It is good to read about something else other than the silly season and other routine stuff.

    It is difficult to cater to every fan’s taste. The FIA has to decide what should be the culture of Formula 1. If they want to take in Michelin they have to act fast and stop this insane restriction on testing. They will have only the 2010 season to look to for an indication as to how the show would be. And again we don’t want 18 inch wheels

  38. Hendo says:

    If the FIA brings in Michelin, one would assume that the 8 or 10 teams that have signed with Pirelli already, will have to pay out their contracts – effectively paying twice for their tyres. That should just about clean out Marussia and maybe even Wiliams.

    1. Flying Scotsman says:

      I think if Pirelli agree to supply tyres to a team and then are unable to do so,it is them who are in breach of contract and not the team.

      1. Bryce says:

        Why would Pirelli be “unable to do so”? They can provide them with truckloads of tyres to fit to their cars.

  39. Elissa says:

    Great news if true, I have nothing personally against Pirelli but I find ‘tire deg’ dominated racing quite boring. I want a tire to be a factor in a race (ie picking the right ones for the conditions) but I don’t want it to be the deciding factor it currently is.

    Michelin’s ‘Slickintermediates’ are a wonderful example of technology.

    James…would a Michelin entry also then permit the teams to be part of the Michelin Green-X challenge? Ie part of the more road relevant aspects? Fast and efficent etc???

  40. goodpaul says:

    Ok apologies if I’m asking obvious questions, but can anyone explain what is ment by ‘ commercial contract’ with each team. How Also what is the advantage/disadvantage of 13″/18 rims?

    1. GWD says:

      the commercial contract individually with teams is a little baffling to me, and the only thing I can see it doing is guaranteeing payment and independent support. And saves red tape from the FAI side of things, I guess.

      The disadvantage of 18″ low profilers is suspension housing – it’s very compact front and rear now due to a large component of suspension travel is handled by large walled tyres. 18″lp’s would mean considerable redesign of the car – which could theoretically address some issues concerning aero/dirty air if they stipulate the right dimensions for the car designs.

    2. Wade Parmino says:

      The advantage of lower profile tyres is less aerodynamic drag. The disadvantage is a significant change in suspension of the car and less of a contact with the road.

      In the mid 70′s Tyrell tackled these issues by running a six wheeler. Bigger tyres on the rear and four smaller tyres at the front. The car did win one race.

      1. goodpaul says:

        I can understand the disadvantage it would give to the teams but why do mitchelin want to use 18″ rims?

      2. Wade Parmino says:

        Maybe their factory is already setup for those dimensions. It will surely have something to do with money no doubt.

  41. Warren G says:

    The last thing we need in F1 are slick tires that work in the rain. Well done to Michelin on producing such incredible tires, but it’ll take a lot of the skill out of drivers hands again.

  42. JR says:

    And what happens when Michelin suffer a tyre failure?

    Will all the nutters call for them to be dropped in favour of yet another supplier

  43. James Clayton says:

    I don’t generally drink sparkling wine, but I may have to invest in a bottle if this announcement ever gets made.

    And James, I know you have your ties with Pirelli but the following extract isn’t really in line with your usual journalistic impartiality:

    “However the debate over fast degrading tyres – leading to more pit stops and different strategies and *exciting finishes* – has polarised the sport and many of its fans.”

    1. James Allen says:

      What’s wrong with that? It has polarised the sport. The lines about different strategies and more pit stops are a fact. The exciting finishes line is in inverted commas, Where’s your problem with impartiality here?

      1. Random 79 says:

        James Clayton has a problem with impartiality when it comes to Pirelli, but it’s all on his side ;)

      2. James Clayton says:

        The “exciting finishes” is not in inverted commas in the article, had it been it would have had an entirely different meaning. As stands it’s written as fact along with the pit stops and the different strategies.

        I could just as easily say “However the debate over fast degrading tyres – leading to more pit stops and different strategies and *drivers choosing to not to defend positions in order to save tyres* – has polarised the sport and many of its fans.”, which would clearly show my bias.

        It’s no secret the contempt I have towards Pirelli, but that’s the advantage of not being a journalist :). I find your position difficult to understand, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that you’re an outstanding journalist and commentator. I do find, though, any article involving Pirelli has a slight bias that you don’t find elsewhere in your work.

      3. Richard says:

        I know exactly what you mean. Everyone involved in the sport such as journalists, presenters, analysts etc have been pro Pirelli and high deg. tyres, and supported the formula. However ask the drivers in private and you get a different story, and of course let’s not forget what Michael Schumacher had to say about high deg. tyres. In essence it’s not proper racing and becomes a tyres strategy and conservation exercise, and further creates a contest within a contest as the car that interacts with the tyres best usually wins the race.

  44. janis1207 says:

    Processional? Oh, really?
    That would imply that the races, say, in the 90′s were boring as all hell and processional?
    You, James, should know better than that!

    The problem, actually is threefold and well identified already:
    1) Tracks. It has never been a problem to overtake (without a DRS or trick tyres) at Spa, or Malaysia, Canada, Brazil, etc. Overtaking is only a buil-in problem on certain Tilke tracks. So these must be changed – or replaced.
    2) Obsession with safety. It’s very much Ok to build safer cars, but plain silly to regulate racing as it is regulated now – with all those one move, leaving car’s width, and other rules which have never been implemented consistently. Spa was a very good example of this, with one driver penalized, and 2 others getting away with the same offense.
    Remember some great defensive drives: Senna vs. Mansell at Monaco, Schumi vs Hill at Spa? These days they would have been penalized on the spot – but I still remember these as some of the greatest drives I have seen.
    3) Bridgestone vs. Michelin battle was much too costly and unsustainable. One horse race didn’t give the tyre manufacturer the visibility they wanted. So Pirelli made a deal with Bernie to fix this. The result we know: driving to a calculated lap time instead of racing. Now Michelin wants to come in and risk it going alone on normal tyres. Why not?

    So, fix the tracks, let the racers race – and then durable tyres will not be a problem.

    PS Yes, I know, Schumi years. But this was an exception produced by an exceptional dream team. And in fact, it was only 2 – 3 years when Schumi was really dominating the sport.

    1. James Allen says:

      DRS will help the situation and the FIA and teams can play with levels of DRS usage to keep the show exciting. But you get the basic point

    2. James Clayton says:

      In the Schumacher years it tended to be one dominant season, followed by one of close competition – where Schumacher won anyway, followed by another season of dominance.

      Pretty reminiscent of 2011, 2012 and 2013 don’t you think? Except now the races are dull as hell, even in the closely fought years.

  45. F458 says:

    It would be great to see a tyre war next year as it reduces the chance of one team running away with the championship as we inevitably get when there is a big rule change e.g. McLaren in the early races of 98, Brawn 2009 etc.

    1. Random 79 says:

      On the contrary with a big engine based regulation change next year we could well see some teams on one engine blitzing other teams with a different engine. Having two tyre suppliers would just make matters worse.

      Best Engine + Best Tyres = Always Wins

  46. Matt Jackson says:

    Keep Michelin out, remember their philosophy is that the car is a component of the tyre, they will consider themselves more important than anyone or anything else. Fast wearing tyres are great for all of us, if only they could be pushed a bit harder then suddenly fall off the cliff, therefore making the management even more crucial.

  47. Oz Geeza says:

    Fact:F1 is big and profitable business to
    some,in particular to tyre manufacturer and
    its exposure scond to none.
    Pirelli contract will not be renewed “period”. Luca d Montezemolo has bone or two to
    pick up with Pirelli,his gripe changing the
    tyre structure and its compound after only
    four rounds to apease couple teams,he sits
    on FIA board of directors and J.Todt is a
    persident.Welcome back to F1 Michelin.

  48. Eric says:

    The only way durable tyres would work is if refuelling were to be introduced, as others have said. There needs to be some strategy in F1 to keep the intrigue during the race and without fast degrading tyres and tyre change stops the only way it can be achieved is with refuelling. I personally don’t like tyre strategy and think it’s artificial. Real racing in my opinion is driving flat out for the whole race and not having to save tyres.

    To promote fuel efficiency it could be as simple as giving each team a fuel allocation and saying they can use it any way they like – put all the fuel in at the start for the whole race, or make pit stops. Make refuelling and tyre strategy a multi-dimensional optimisation problem.

    Although drive-in-the-wet slicks sound great, they will almost completely ruin the most interesting aspect of F1 racing which is in changeable conditions where some drivers get it right and some wrong. So I don’t think they would be good for F1 either.

    At this late stage I’m against Michelin’s entry into F1 next season without proper consideration.

    1. Sujith says:

      In 2010 we had more durable Bridgestones, no “Cliff” and no refueling. The racing wasn’t too bad. Everybody panicked after the first race in Bahrain but things soon picked up.

      Well yes, I get your point. But we have atleast 1 season as reference. Not to forget, the teams should be given more test days in the winter. The FIA will have to get that cost cutting plan off their chest if they are really serious about getting Michelin back in because, it is a much costly affair as it is bringing them back.

      1. Kirk says:

        For me personally the races that year were very boring, the tyres used to got changed early in the race and the positions from that point up to the end never changed, maybe the championship was fine because there were position changing over the year, but the races were boring. Nevertheless, I have seen here that some people enjoyed those races, so maybe I’m the one how is wrong, the fact here is that it would be very tricky to get a good spectacle that everybody like, we will have to wait next year to see if these new regulations are the answer.

      2. Sujith says:

        Most of what you said is correct. Again in 2010 strategy was mostly Undercut. There were a few grands prix that stood out with a lot of action. Those races had the so called “Huge difference” in the options and primes. The race in Canada, again a hit just because the tyres did not last long. That is when, the FIA decided that they needed quickly wearing tyres. That gave way to what we see now with Pirelli.

        So yeah as you said, it is going to be difficult to predict how it is going to be. But still 2010 is the only year we can look back to as reference.

  49. Magsmanston says:

    F1 hasn’t been the pinnacle of all motor technology for a long while. If that were the case, they would be running extremely aerodynamically slippery, ground effect “cars” racing under jet power with phenomenally grippy and practically indestructible tyres and as many / little axles as can be gotten away with. It’d be like wacky races only more loud.

    Only that technology which is within the rules and sporting regulations, in the interest of having an entertaining and safe event is allowed and F1 is generally at or near the pinnacle, within this rule set. This goes for any formula. You won’t find any F1 car after the advent of aerodynamics being at the pinnacle of rallying technology, for instance.

    Arguments about the “artificiality” of all this fall short with a momentary glance at how the sport has changed and evolved in it’s constraints over the years. The formula inevitably evolves, evolve with it.

    For instance, in the flesh, I can’t tell that much difference between tyre management mode and full out mode. They still sound and smell brilliant. The tyre management phase only tends to be the first 1/2-2/3rds of the race, once the drivers feel they can push they push. The feeling of anticipation of this building throughout the race is really something.

    As a long standing fan, I *much* prefer this tactical aspect to the homogeneous no pit stop Ferrari / whoever pounding out an unassailable lead and the first 10 laps showing you the entire race, bar mechanical failures. Barring Vettel/RBR’s super dominant recent season F1 has been an order of magnitude more entertaining with both DRS and dicky tyres.

    Long may it continue.

  50. Olivier says:

    I am all in for the (18″) Michelins.

    Tyres are the wrong differentiator. They should last the race distance, if not race weekend. It’ll certainly spice up the qualifying again as well!

    I don’t think we will go back to the 2005 processional races as we have ERS and DRS that can be applied on various parts of the circuit. F1 has moved on.

  51. Richard says:

    If it is true that Pirelli is investing a load of money on the 2014 tyres I can’t assume that they will be really happy with a Michelin comeback

  52. Sarvar says:

    James,

    what happens if FIA and Force India bring back Michelin but FOM and 10 teams insist on Pirelli?

    all about politics & politics…

    1. James Allen says:

      Who is the tyre supply contract with?

      Other contracts are contingent on that, I would imagine

  53. Rob Newman says:

    Teams will not agree to an 18 inch wheel. The change will cost them massively and there are too many unknowns.

    In my opinion, the tyre situation is fine as it is now. The new engines will give enough excitement in 2014. We don’t need Michelin to spoil the show.

    If FIA chose Michelin, then Pirelli will take them to the courts. The fans may end up footing the bill.

  54. Ben says:

    It’s interesting to hear Michelin’s derisive attitude towards Pirelli when they were responsible for the biggest controversy in F1 from the last 10 years, a 10 years that included McLaren/Ferrari spygate, Renault racefixing and Mercedes’ illegal test.

    The US GP of 2005 is the worst thing that happened in F1 in the last 10 years. It ruined F1′s reputation in one of the world’s most important markets.

    I am sure some people will blame the FIA, because the FIA gets a lot of flak (sometimes deservedly) but in this instance it was 100% Michelin’s fault. You can’t change a race circuit, you can’t change the rules of the race. Michelin was responsible for bringing a tyre that was fit for the racing environment and they failed to deliver – and this was in a year where testing was allowed AND Michelin had a huge tyre advantage over Bridgestone (they won every other race)

    People may not like what Pirelli has done, but that is an issue that should be taken up with the FIA and FOM as they delivered the spec they were asked to. And Pirelli’s tyre issues this year – even Silverstone – are nothing like what happened in Indy 2005. And Indy 2005 might have been forgiveable had testing not been allowed and Michelin not had the option of bringing more durable tyres.

    1. DMBK says:

      How is Indy worse than what occurred at Silverstone? I’d say they were one and the same.

      Indy was caused by tyres not being up to the job of coping with the banked final turn so Michelin looked for solutions – including letting their teams run Bridgestones – but was thwarted at every turn by the FIA, mainly the refusal to install a chicane to slow the Michelin users down or let then run through the Nascar pit lane every lap*. Michelin publicly held their hands up and took the pain when all the teams pitted.

      Silverstone was caused by tyres not being up to the job of running round fast corners with aggressive kerbs. Pirelli denied there was a problem, blamed the teams for the way they were running the tyres and let the race run. Cue multiple failures.

      I have more respect for Michelin for having the balls to publicly be held accountable rather than Pirelli who hid behind the ‘no testing’ excuse. They had three years to get the tyres right with no competition to show them up but still failed. Indy set the precedent for tyre issues causing safety issues, so is viewed as the worst example. Silverstone was no less or more severe, but was badly managed.

      * the Nascar pits was separate to the F1 pit so was available as an alternative line with a speed restriction.

      1. Aaron James says:

        There was a lot more testing in 2005 than there is today.

      2. DMBK says:

        Not that replicated the banking, loads and surface of the final turn at Indy. IIRC the tyres were failing due to the resonance the surface created within the tyre structure, causing it to delaminate rapidly after a handful of laps. They could only test this at Indy. Silverstone is a normal high speed circuit so the loads and effects should have been easily forseen/replicated at somewhere like Barcelona’s turn 3.

  55. Steve Clark says:

    I see this weekend’s race as a hint of things to come if Michelin bring a long lasting tire to the races. Sure there was some action further down the pack but overall the race was tame compared to the edge of your seat stuff that the first half of the season represented. There was no fight for the win.

    I’m certain that those that complain about Pirelli’s improve the show tires will be the same ones complaining about processional races in 2014 should Pirelli return.

  56. Bruce says:

    Keep with Pirelli as their tyres provide a lot of excitement in the races. Michelin and a long lasting tyre leading to processional races are definitely a No No!

  57. expertf1 says:

    my only question is- if f1 cars have low profile tyres, what is going to absorb the massive g-loading? because my understanding is right now its the tyres. so if they are low profile will it mean the driver and car will have to absorb the g loads then? i mean driving an f1 car is apparently a bruising experience so i don’t get how that would work?
    on a different note, i think competition is good in any environment. be it in business, of which lets be honest f1 is a business. hence i don’t see the problem with michelin coming in. it will hopefully dilute the power of the fia because they seem to be the problem. alot of people blame pirelli for the tyres that melt like candles but they were only doing what the fia asked for.

  58. K says:

    Simple, have them both in, Michelin does durable tyres for performance and a proper race with everyone pushing, Pirelli makes tyres for a WFF show and let’s see which tyres the teams pick :P

    I rather have 100 races like Spa 2013 with cars and drivers dictating the outcome than 1 lottery race with WWF tyres dominating the outcome.

  59. Mikeboy0001 says:

    This makes me Angry!!!
    Pirelli has made a huge contribution to the sport, providing some of the most exciting races in years, and so many troglodytes crucify them for doing this
    I remember last year when noone could know who would win the next race, and the first hald of the season had superb and entertaining spectacles race after race. In the second half, the better teams catched up and where on top of the tyres, what could be better planned than this?
    Do you want to watch cars going 100% all the time, well then just watch Nascar, as your mindset doesn’t go any higher than that
    Pirelli is being bullied for far too long now, they are the easy kid to take a beating. So many other real problems at F1, and it’s the same bull***t every weekend, tyres
    They’ve hurt their image to provide what was in their contract, wich if they had gone the easy way, making tyres that would last an entire race, they’ve would have escaped
    Not all has gone well, some weekends the tyres have had too much meaning in race, but I’ll take that to a procession any time
    Just imagine this. At the moment Vettel and Red Bull are dominating F1, being arguably the best driver in the best car, so can you imagine what that dominance would be like if tyres weren’t an issue?
    No, I don’t work for Pirelli, I don’t even have Pirelli road tyres on my car, I have some great BFGoodrich, wich is part of Michelin, but injustices makes me ANGRY!!

  60. John Turner says:

    Very much of the focus is on Pirelli Tyres, but not on the Teams for how they Use them. I actually thought Ferrari did a Brilliant Job in Spain with the Four Stop Strategy, Equally Di Resta’s One Stop in Canada and Button’s Two Stop in Malaysia that could have been such a Different Result if it wasn’t for only 3 Wheels going on at the Second Stop.

    It was a Boring Race, but Mercedes controlled the Race Brilliantly in Monaco to Win. However, a lot of Team seem to have wanted to stick to the ‘Norms’ in terms of Strategy and then Complain about driving ‘within the Tyres’, but they are not taking a Risk with Strategy, either adding the Extra one in and Actually Pushing, or Trying to get further on a Single Set.

    At the End of the Day, I want the BEst Car, Driver Team Combination to win, and surely part of being the Best Team is Understanding and Working with the Tyres, even if they do Degrade Quickly.

    I don’t want another Tyre War, so think it should be One Supplier, and ultimately want the racing to be exciting, maybe Pirelli’s First Tyre this Year were a Bit Extreme, but I don’t think it’s been the Shambles everyone is making it out to be.

  61. Simon Joseph says:

    I don’t like the way Michelin (supported it seems by Mr. Todt) are trying to muscle Pirelli out of F1. Pirelli have only produced rubbish tyres because they were instructed to do so in order to ‘improve the show’. They deserve better treatment from the FIA.

    Having said that, Michelin do make some sensible points. I agree F1 should go to larger wheels. In the 21st century old fashioned tall tyre walls should not be providing the majority of an F1 cars suspension movement, it should be springs, shocks, roll bars etc. skilfully engineered by each individual team. Michelin are also right, we should have more durable tyres. I want to watch modern racing cars being driven FLAT OUT by the best drivers in the world, not ‘nursed’ to the finish line. What would Senna have thought?

    And whilst we are making a few changes, lets reduce the effectiveness of the wings massively, lets have some proper unassisted overtaking again.

    Maybe Bernie could bang some heads together and put the sport back on track because once he’s gone it won’t be done by committee. It’s the least he should do, he’s done quite well out of it!

    1. Mmm says:

      “What would Senna have thought?” Have you ever watched an F1 race from the 80′s I ask you? If you think for one second that cars from the previous eras were driven flat out you are totally wrong. Tyres were a limiting factor then as well as other things… some trying to nurse the car to the finish line on a set of tyres while other diving in for a set of fresh rubber… creating, in a similar way as today, good racing.

      I can’t believe so many people want everlasting tyres. The only problem with todays rules is that you are forced to use all compounds (and the stupid DRS, how are people going to defend on old tyres if everyone is allowed a free pass each lap).

  62. Aaron James says:

    Split the race distance into four quarters, and in one quarter, the teams have to elect which quarter to have a really soft tire- I’m thinking similar to how the BTCC have operated successfully this season where you have to choose a race in what to use the soft Dunlop.

    Though I reckon we should keep Pirelli….does anyone not remember people were screaming for fragile tyres a few years ago? And didnt Michelin quit in a huff after their tyres caused a race boycott and sent RSC flying into a wall at Indy?

  63. Monktonnik says:

    The grass is always greener.

    I hate the idea of going back to low deg tyres.

    We have had a few years of great racing after several years of trying different things to get the formula more exciting.

    I seem to remember an analysis of the amount and cause of overtakes (drs, non drs) since the introduction of Pirelli rubber and DRS systems and the fact is that the Pirelli tyres have allowed more overtaking and created more uncertainty in the races.

    If you think Vettel is dominant now imagine what he will be like on perfect tyres with no overtaking.

  64. Goob says:

    The real problem is not the tire, but the ratio of grip to aero…

    Focusing on the tire is focusing on the symptom… the disease in F1 is excess aero…

    Cars on rails is what makes F1 dead boring.

    Aero needs to be cut 50% and the tire should be wider, the chassis wider and the engines have more BHP.

    1. Mike Tallent says:

      I agree, although a wider chassis would reduce overtaking, could make cars lighter as well to keep them at current speeds.

  65. Karim says:

    I would stick with Pirelli even after the Silverstone fiasco. I like the tyres as they are to be honest. The more durable ones, will make the cars with better aerodynamic grip, like the Redbull even faster, but with the new regs and hybrid turbo engines, I would allow for Pirelli to remain, and have refuelling return to the sport.

    What tank you start with in Q3, will be the tank you start with on race day and you base your strategy from there. This rule would require a more proactive strategy approach, rather than than the reactionary pitstops we are seeing today (with everyone starting on full tanks and reacting to the undercut, or the guinea pigs that are out there with a different tyre compound and rival teams checking out their lap times- not much skill there). With refuelling, teams have to think through the weekend more deeply, I don’t understand why people do not want it reintroduced.

    Also, I do not see how Michelin would do a better job- in fact I am worried if they entered and have a slick tyre able to cope in wet weather conditions, then that would be disastrous for F1- you are basically eliminating more variables that can alter a surprise race outcome. We need more variables and options (like teams deciding if they wish to have KERS or not- lighter car without it vs. turbo boost with it but heavier). Whilst I do not wish F1 to be a Hollywood showpiece entertainment sport- and the DRS is a bit of a gimmick- I do encourage some strategic options to be available to teams (like refuelling) and having 4 tyre compounds available on race day instead of 2 for instance. Or if there is another tyre manufacturer, then have half of the races go to Pirelli and the other half to Michelin, and it can be decided by drawing lots. That would challenge teams to understand the tyres even more, because they are of entirely of different construction and material. Best team will be partly the one who can cope with both tyre manufacturers the most efficiently.

    But a tyre war on track is definitely not what I want to see either- the focus will shift to the tyre manufacturers rather than the cars. I do not want to see that AGAIN! A more controversial move would be to ban DRS and have non-automated gear transmissions return. It would make the sport more pure, but also more entertaining.

    Just my 2 pence!

  66. Lachlan Mackinnon says:

    A summary for consideration James:
    1. Tyre supplier has a contract with commercial rights holder (young Bernie)
    2. Tyre supplier has contracts with individual F1 teams – the entire field signed up except Force India
    3. The all important signature/contract with FIA still pending
    4. Michelin missing the publicity of F1 and using this as an opportunity to have their name in the public forum for a couple of months – some good PR

    2014 will see significant regulation change for teams to manage/cope with without introducing further complication of another/different tyre manufacturer – yes, a larger/better financed team will cope but how about the teams sitting on row 5 and lower?

    What is the end game of the FIA? My first three dot points is highlighting the complications of big business – multiple contracts with multiple stakeholders and even then we have a situation where a tyre supplier is still not chosen for racing in 2014 at this late stage – why all the contracts if they mean absolutely nothing!

    The FIA got what they wanted – fast degrading tyres. Unfortunately this went too far when disintegrating tyres came about due to politics, lack of testing and teams not agreeing to change.

    The last thing fans want is a return to processional racing, but we all want to see F1 drivers going hammer and tong. I would love to see the FIA have a few more stones and be a little more proactive rather than reactive. The sport seems to lurch from one issue to another which is brought on by themselves – surely we can learn from our past lessons! Bridgestone tyres that last forever, refueling, DRS, mechanical grip, aerodynamic reliance…….the list goes.

    Dear FIA, Please map out a way forward that will allow all the attributes of F1 racing to be on show – driver, strategy, technology, etc. Not easy but clearly they don’t have it right at the moment :-(

  67. Luke G says:

    Two things here:
    1) I don’t want, and I’d argue many are with me, processional grand prix racing like we had with Bridgestone. The engineering challenge we have had with Pirelli has been great. The only ones who have whinged have either short memories or support a team/driver who hasn’t excelled with this challenge.
    2) I’m rather disgusted in the FIA’s underhanded behaviour with this. Pirelli have been, largely, brilliant and loyal advocates for the sport and should be treated with tremendous respect and dignity by the governing body. It’s a good 12 months late for the FIA to be doing this, and to be doing it with such a deliberate lack of transparency is unnervingly similiar to the FISA days of the 80s… While I was personally a fan of Michelins when they were in the sport in the early 2000s, I don’t share their ‘vision’ for what F1 should be any longer in terms of tyres.

    1. processional racing has very little to do with tyres….per se. aerodynamics is the main culprit.

  68. Craig in Manila says:

    It’s just not feasible to lower the tyre-profile : Pirelli’s branding would be sooo much harder to read if it were any smaller.

    :-)

  69. Fireman says:

    Didn’t Paul Hembery say that if Michelin wants to come back, they should’ve annouced their willingness do so last September. It’s almost September again so Michelin to bid for 2015 tires?

    Then again, this is F1.

  70. RogerD says:

    Michelin will have to improve their production processes a fair bit if they’re serious about supplying a full grid of F1 cars 20-odd times a year otherwise that guy in the photo at the head of your story will have his work cut out for him.

    The quality / consistency of the product looks a bit patchy as well.

  71. Hello says:

    If they did bring in two tire makers. They would have to allocate who runs on what tire. 1st in the championship Michelin, 2nd Pirelli, 3rd Michelin and so on.

  72. George says:

    Its a bit of a joke really for everyone to nail Pirelli for producing tires that degrade – they were asked to. How far they take it is their choice I suppose but with the change of compound and construction we have much more stability and certainly no more 4 stop races. If the teams really were switching tires and this was the cause, what are Pirelli supposed to do?! The last thing we or anyone else wants to see is Vettel or even a Merc driving off into the sunset next year; though Hamilton doing that would not be that bad really. Pirelli deserve to remain and come out of the storm, their experience this year should help them deal with all the unpredictability and desire for an entertaining race in 14′

    1. ‘…..pirelli [they] were asked to’. they could’ve always said ‘no/non/nyet..whatever’. pirelli should not be in control. quite ridiculous really.

  73. Sanjog says:

    Bernie’s already confirmed Pirelli for next year. Bye bye Michelin, it would have been good to have a tyre war on though..:)

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