Michelin has publicly admitted for the first time that it is in talks with the FIA about making a return to F1 as a sole tyre supplier.
According to Bloomberg Michelin’s Jean Dominique Senard gave an interview in which he admitted to “formal discussions” with the FIA and said, “We might consider returning but there are some very clear conditions.”
These revolve around an insistence by Michelin that the rules were changed to showcase tyres which had a positive environmental effect and a wider appeal to the motor industry than at present in order to “show the performance they can bring, notably in terms of fuel saving and CO2 reductions.” Fuel saving tyre technology seems to be the name of the game.
Bridgestone announced that the 2010 season would be its last in F1 and although Bernie Ecclestone has been talking to the company about ways in which it might be persuaded to stay, it is interesting to hear that Michelin are interested in a return. This would be greeted with enthusiasm by most of the teams as Michelin’s tyre engineering was very highly rated in the F1 paddock – notwithstanding the debacle at Indianapolis in 2005 when they brought the wrong tyres and were not able to race.
This kind of thinking is likely to strike a chord with FIA president Jean Todt, who has said that he wants motor sport to move with the times. Ironically, back in Indy 2005 Todt, then head of Ferrari, was adamant that a chicane could not be constructed to allow the Michelin teams to race, but a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then.