Pirelli might be the one with the current tyre deal with Formula 1, but that doesn’t mean that Michelin will just back away.
It seems Michelin is determined to make a serious return to the prestigious motorsport anytime soon. During a recent interview with Autosport, director of Michelin Motorsport Pascal Couasnon admitted, “We are still interested in F1.” Both Michelin and Pirelli had passed the FIA’s requirements for the tyre tender for 2017 to 2019. However, Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone opted to stay with Pirelli, which will be keeping the current rim size. Part of Michelin’s proposal is to move to from the current 13-inch tyre spec to 18 inches.
According to Couasnon, using 18-inch tyres on the track would help make lap times as much as 1.5 seconds quicker. At the same time, modifying the tyre specs will also prove to be cheaper than having cars undergo aerodynamic adjustments just to get faster. Despite this argument, Formula 1 chose not to go with bigger tyres for the coming three seasons. Nonetheless, Couasnon and Michelin team remain positive that larger tyres would be the direction the motorsport is headed to in the future. Couasnon even remarked, “We believe one day or the other Formula 1 will have to move anyway.”
While Michelin is not currently busy with Formula 1, it has remained engaged with the motorsport community. Last year, Michelin was kept busy by the 24 Hours Le Mans Race, the FIA World Endurance Champtions (WEC), the FIA Formula E Champions, the FIA World Rally Champions, the Japan Super GT – GT500, the Tudor United Sportscar Champions, the 24 hours of Nurburgring Victory, the 12 Hours of Bathurst Victory, the Dakar Victories, the FIM World Enduro Champions, the FIM Trial & X Trial Champion, the Campionato Italiano Velocita Champion and the FIM Supermoto Champion.
Meanwhile, changes to F1 are also underway in the form of a halo. According to a report from the BBC, the halo would be a device that would be attached above the driver to protect the his head from airborne debris on the track. It will be attached to the car on each side of the cockpit rear along with a single strut in front of the driver.