Formula One News: Bernie Ecclestone Addresses Michelin Return Talk

Ben BlackmoreFeatured ColumnistAugust 29, 2013

SPA, BELGIUM - AUGUST 24:  F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone arrives in the paddock before the final practice session prior to qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 24, 2013 in Spa, Belgium.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Bernie Ecclestone, the president of Formula One Management (FOM), has laid to rest speculation that Michelin could make a return to the sport in 2014 at the expense of Pirelli.

The recent Belgian Grand Prix played host to growing belief that Michelin could become the F1 tyre supplier next season, but Ecclestone told U.S. Broadcaster Speed that Pirelli will remain in place.

ESPNF1 quotes Ecclestone as saying: “FOM and Pirelli have a contract.”

It was Pascal Couasnon, director of Michelin’s competition department, who gave credence to the feeling that the French firm could become a factor in the 2014 campaign.

He confirmed Michelin’s willingness to talk to the FIA, while placing a deadline of late October on any potential agreement.

Next month’s World Motor Sport Council meeting offers a platform at which a tender process could be opened with Pirelli yet to agree a deal with the FIA.

Ecclestone says there is no need for an official contract, commenting, "We don't need one, I don't think."

"They are nothing to do with commercial," he said. "The FIA's position is that they are regulators. They regulate all the regulations that have been agreed."

Pirelli has fallen foul of heavy criticism during its time as tyre suppliers, not least at the recent British Grand Prix when there were several costly failures.

However, the advantage it boasts over Michelin is twofold.

According to Le Figaro, per Sky SportsMichelin would not adhere to the FIA’s current request—fulfilled by Pirelli—to produce rapidly degrading tyres that add intrigue to the tactical side of the sport.

Couasnon also says a “strong contract condition” on behalf of Michelin would be to increase wheel diameter from 13 to 18 inches.

In Michelin's favour is reported discontent among the 11 teams toward Pirelli, reported by Andrew Benson of the BBC, but Ecclestone says none is pushing him to appoint Michelin as tyre suppliers.