Still no tyre deal…

There is still no official announcement about the Formula 1 tyre supplier next year and it is clear that there is a difference of opinion between the various parties regarding the best choice for Formula 1. The problem appears to be one of finance with both Michelin and Pirelli bidding for a deal. The biggest teams, a group which is believed to include Ferrari, McLaren and Renault, are in favour of a Michelin deal, a path that the FIA is also keen on taking, despite the fact that the deals would cost teams more money. Those seeking a less expensive deal seem to be supporting Pirelli. The big teams argue that in the end the costs must be seen as part of a bigger picture as a switch to Pirelli will likely require major changes to the cars, whereas Michelin will be able to produce tyres that suit the current generation of machinery immediately.

Everyone agrees that unless there is a rapid solution to the problem then teams will be having to produce B versions of the 2011 cars early next year once they discover the characteristics of the new tyres. This will, of course, add to the cost and make a deal with Michelin the logical thing to do the longer the indecision continues.

There are reports that Pirelli is looking at acquiring one of the Toyota TF110 chassis to do the tyre development work necessary and the suggestion is that Nick Heidfeld would act as test driver. We have also heard that the likelihood is that all the teams would stay on in Abu Dhabi after this year’s race and complete a four-day test to get used to the tyres.

What is clear now is that Bridgestone and Avon are both out of the picture.

15 thoughts on “Still no tyre deal…

  1. You can actually understand why some of the smaller teams support the idea of Pirelli then. Not just because they are cheaper, but exactly because it will require changes to the cars – and changes opens a window for one or two of those teams to suddenly leap forward, and one or two of the bigger teams to fall a bit behind.

  2. I know it could be his usual bargaining through the confusion but wasn’t Bernie quoted as saying he didn’t want Michelin or Pirelli but Avon to get the deal? The rumour being he wanted F1 branded tyres….

    I take it then that’s just Bernie stirring the pot for a better deal..?

  3. Why not let the teams that want Michelin buy Michelin tyres and let the teams that want Pirellis buy Pirellis?

    It’ll introduce another spicey element to game.

  4. In Canada, Messrs Whitmarsh, Horner and Brawn ikn a joint interview told the BBC that the working group had agreed a precise tyre specification to be given to both manufacturers (or perhaps already given, I don’t recall exactly).

    The teams could thus go ahead with 2011 car design knowing that whichever manufacturer was chosen, the tyres would be (mutatis mutandis) technically the same and suit the new suspension designs.

    There were no ifs or buts. They said it was now just a question of settling the deal with Michelin or Pirelli.

    Has this plan been dropped since Sunday?

  5. I don’t really care anymore since Michelin said they’d drop their plan to run LMP1 low-profiles on eighteen inch wheels. That would have made the cars look sensational.

    Instead we’ve got another case of “the more things change the more they stay the same”.

  6. Joe,

    What was your take on the interview given to the BBC by messrs Whitmarsh, Horner and Brawn in Canada on the subject of tyres. They seemed determined to project a united front by the teams and made it clear that the teams via FOCA would decide on the spec of the tyres and that the teams would all produce cars with the same weight distribution next season.

    Two things struck me. First this followed on from Todt telling the world that FOCA would not decide on the tyre supplier so it looked like FOCA stretching its political muscle to say you may decide on the supplier but we will get the tyres we want regardless of who supplies them.

    The second thing was the lack of any Ferrari representation at the interview.

  7. @John O’Sullivan – wouldn’t Pirelli and Michelin then be *gasp* competing? This is F1 you know, we can’t have competition [/headscratch]

    Why not let the teams buy tyres from whoever they damn well choose? Let the teams get their tyres like they get their brake pads, spark plugs, teabags…. stop trying to artificially enhance the spectacle by fiddling with the mandated tyres.

  8. I posted earlier that I didn’t believe that the Turkish GP was the “drop-dead” date. This is a chess match between Bernie et. al., vs Michelin. The final number$ is what hangs in the balance.
    And good job Mr. Saward – I see you’ve re-located, set-up house and not missed a beat with your internet “audience with Joe”. Thanks for all your efforts.

  9. having pirelli will mean large alterations to the cars ?
    that’s a specious argument if ever I heard one
    haven’t even looked at a tyre but know the characteristics already

    the truth of the matter is that pirelli could clone this years tyres if they so wished

    funny how the smaller teams want pirelli to save them money ! so they clearly don’t think it would mean such expensive alterations do they

    why do the big teams want michelin ? because they reckon it would protect the status quo ..them at the top ; renault for the special treatment they got in 2005/6 which was partially instrumental in their winning the WDC

    1. Colin Grayson,

      This is not what the F1 engineers tell me… And cloning this year’s tyres would not be allowed. There is IP involved and Bridgestone is not going to hanfd over its tyres to Pirelli and say “Here you go chaps, copy this.”

  10. in my years of watching F1 I have never known anything stay secret for long ! no top tyre manufacturer would take long to work out a copy of current tyres joe , ask tyre designers rather than F1 engineers
    of course the tyre manufacturer would need access to the telemetry from a recent F1 car , maybe they could even rent one ..if you really think all the teams would refuse them access

  11. I wonder what would happen if the new tires were dropped off at the team garages the night before free practice 1 opening round 2011. Those who adapt and manage the new tires best win? I guess this may be dangerous but it sure would be a show to remember!

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