F1 technology transfer insufficient, says Michelin

The level of race to road technology transfer in Formula 1 is insufficient to pique Michelin’s interest in returning to the series as tyre supplier. This is the comment from Pascal Couasnon despite the tyre maker’s renewed interest several years ago.

Crash.net writes that the Michelin motorsport director doesn’t consider the absence of open tyre competition necessarily a disincentive to tyre supply, so long as the engagement stretches Michelin as a developer and maker of tyres – and Couasnon doesn’t believe Formula 1 fits this bill.

“We don’t want to race in series where either there is no challenge or challenges that do not make sense for your car and mine,” stated the motorsport director. “If there is a challenge, even if we are by yourself, it is OK. Formula E’s a perfect example.”

When preparing its bid for Formula 1 tyre supply from the 2017 season, Michelin pushed for a switch from 13-inch tyres to an 18-inch size. The argument was that this larger rim diameter had far greater relevancy to today’s road-going tyres; at the time, Couasnon commented that “we need racing tyres to have a similar profile to road tyres to be in a position to develop new technologies.” A series run on 13-inch tyres with wide sidewalls is, he opined, “not a hotbed of innovation in the realm of tyres.”

He hasn’t changed his tune. Crash.net reports that when speaking with media in Hong Kong last Friday, the Michelin motorsport director commented that while he loves Formula 1, “in terms of pure technology for the tyre, that’s not the most useful series for today.”


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