Keeping the wheels on the ground - why F1 must not use Michelin tyres.
When F1 and Michelin are mentioned together a few things come to mind, most notably the 2005 United States Grand Prix and the length of the tyre stints that created 'boring races'. Bridgestone won the contract and Pirelli later took over, but now where next?
Michelin joined the sport in 2001 and after only two years hit the headlines for the wrong reasons when the tyres fit the regulations on width... At the start of the race, however as the race went on the tyres got wider and gave the cars more grip. Michelin ran for one more clean season before 2005 was another headline making one, the 2005 tyres were way quicker than Bridgestone's alternative and in United States the high pressure going through the tyres at turn 13, the banked corner, on the Indianapolis motor speedway course. The tyres failed at high speed and put the drivers in danger so Michelin did the best thing by proposing a chicane be introduced to the corner for the race to prevent the tyre load from causing failures. The cars running Michelins couldn't enter the race after the proposals were rejected so pulled into the pits at the end of the parade lap, the team refunded the spectators and gave 20,000 tickets for the 2006 race for free as compensation. Thankfully the new American Grand Prix is much more successful.
So Michelin are controversial and should be avoided but what's next. Personally teams should have increased prize money and negotiate their own tyre contracts whether it be Pirelli, Bridgestone or even Dunlop. All we will know of it is when it happens
Matthew Gannon- F1today