Michelin rule out return to ‘irrelevant’ Formula 1

Credit: Renault

French tyre manufacturer Michelin have said that the low amount of technology transfer from Formula 1 to road cars is preventing them from returning as a tyre supplier.

The company last supplied teams in 2006, with Fernando Alonso securing the championship title on French rubber, they had previously submitted a bid to supply tyres for the 2017 but lost out to Pirelli.

“Michelin wants to race with a challenge. Obviously when you have competition, your challenge is right there,” Michelin director of motorsport, Pascal Couasnon told media in Hong Kong last week.

“But if you work with the FIA, you work with Formula E, and say OK why don’t you introduce a new rule that makes it more difficult for the tyre maker, then you have your own challenge. That’s what we want.

“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. If there is a challenge, even if we are by yourself, it is OK. Formula E’s a perfect example.

“Formula 1 today, to be honest with you, we talked about 18-inch tyres, smaller sidewalls – that’s what you see in the street. If you learn something you can transfer it quickly.

“With the big side tyre wall, you don’t learn something useful. You spend a lot of money for changing tyres every seven-to-10 laps and having technology that you can really deploy on an everyday car.

“I love Formula 1, but in terms of pure technology for the tyre, that’s not the most useful series for today.”

Aside from Formula E, Michelin use endurance racing as a way of producing and developing long-lasting, high-performance tyres.