A tire war could be sparked in Formula One within a couple of seasons if Michelin gets what it wants. The French tire manufacturer ceased its participation in the sport after F1 moved to a single-supplier formula, selecting Bridgestone as its partner. But with Bridgestone set to leave at the end of next season, team bosses reportedly met with Bernie Ecclestone in Malaysia on Friday to discuss potential replacements.
Among the offers reportedly entertained, Michelin could be back in – but with some very serious conditions. For starters, it wants not only free trackside advertising – a hit which Bernie Ecclestone would reportedly pass on to the teams – but it would also expect each team to pay for its tires, to the tune of some 2-5 million euros... per team, per season.
In addition to the compensation issue, Michelin would reportedly want the sport to switch from its current 13-inch wheels to much larger 18-inchers (presumably with lower-profile sidewalls) so that the F1 initiative could be better integrated with Michelin's sportscar racing program.
A large-scale tire war could ensue if Michelin gets what it's asking for, with Korean rubber companies Hankook or Kumho potentially joining the battle for a slice of the pie, and Bridgestone reconsidering its position.
[Source: ESPN F1 (1/2)]