Pirelli Still Interested in Formula One Tyre Supply
While all the buzz earlier in the week surrounded the surprise revelation that Cooper Avon was in the running for the contract to supply Formula One’s tyres, now there is the possibility of a third way. Italian manufacturer Pirelli appears to have thrown its hat into the ring, apparently prompted by Michelin’s suggestion that 18” wheels replace the 13” diameter products currently used in the sport in a move designed to make F1’s tyres more relevant to other sports tyres. Motorsport website Crash.net quotes Pirelli chairman Marco Tronchetti Provera as saying the increase in size and the potential competition desired by Michelin “is something we have been pushing for for years.” He told ANSA – the Italian news agency – that the company “would consider a return to F1” should the Michelin-proposed regulations pass into F1 law.
While apparently favoured by the teams, according to a BBC report, Michelin has presented Formula One bosses with some decisions to make on the sport’s development in 2011. No news has yet emerged from the Cooper Avon camp regarding the details of their bid, other than the confirmation that talks are taking place. Crash.net speculates that the deal with the American company (and its British subsidiary, Avon Motorsport) would represent the cheaper deal for teams, at least in part because there is no confirmation of any demands for wheel size changes. As things stood on Wednesday, it looked like the competition for F1 tyre supply was a two-horse race, but now Pirelli appear to have opened the door – if only slightly – to a third way. Given that the decision is due to be made by the time of the Spanish Grand Prix in a little over two weeks, it seems unlikely that Pirelli will have time to add substance to its interest, but should Michelin prevail, its preference for competition would not necessarily rule out anyone else.