Michelin is not ruling out taking on Pirelli in a formula one tyre war next year. With the sport's existing sole supplier Pirelli having already inked 2014 contracts with Bernie Ecclestone and the bulk of the teams, the fact Michelin has now entered the race is fascinating.
Michelin competition boss Pascal Couasnon said on Monday that the French marque has dropped its earlier condition that it will only return to F1 if it can go in competition with a rival. "We have changed one of our conditions," he told Le Figaro newspaper. "Now, we don't mind becoming the exclusive supplier. We are ready for it, as there is quite an interesting technical challenge."
But Couasnon said Michelin is also still open to a tyre war. "We have always said that we are interested in competition," he added. He said talks with the governing FIA, led by Frenchman Jean Todt, have already begun. "We have sent them the same information as we have to the general public, so our position is known to all," said Couasnon.
He denied, however, that talks with F1 chief executive Ecclestone are already underway. "I was surprised by these reports, but I'm starting to get used to it," Couasnon smiled. "Two weeks ago, I read that Michelin planned to hold a press conference, but nothing happened. In formula one, there are always a lot of rumours. I can confirm that I have not scheduled any meetings with Bernie Ecclestone. If negotiations were to begin, we would hold them with the FIA, Bernie Ecclestone and the teams." (GMM)