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.