Michelin does, however, have certain conditions. Its bid is contingent on F1 switching from the current high-profile rubber on 13-inch wheels to lower-profile tires on 18-inch wheels – similar to what rival Pirelli proposed and to what Michelin supplies to the nascent Formula E series. The Bibendum brand also wants to make tires that last longer than the rubber that Pirelli was tasked with supplying. Bernie Ecclestone is reportedly against the idea, but Michelin insists that at least some of the teams support it.
"The tire used as an object you throw away after a few laps, or whatever, is not really something that is good for the tire industry," Michelin's motorsport chief Pascal Couasnon told Autosport. "I also understand people say Pirelli has done a good job, but if I listen to the teams and drivers, not everybody agrees on that. If the request is for more pit stops then there is a way to provoke them, but also with tires that do not degrade as much. Maybe we need to find a solution that respects some guidelines. What's important for us is being able to propose some ideas."
The last time Michelin supplied F1 tires was between 2001 and 2006, when it competed in an open tire war with Bridgestone. That company subsequently won the tender to act as sole supplier, a contract which then went to Pirelli and is now up for renewal. Michelin has hardly been sitting on the pit wall in the years since, providing tires to the World Rally Championship, World Endurance Championship (including Le Mans), Formula E, and other racing disciplines.
The FIA is set to make its decision on the F1 contract a month from now.