Things ... Michelin bid for F1 tyre Contract


Not my cup of cake
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Having watched Le Mans over the weekend, where cars were triple and quadruple stinting on Michelin tyres in LMP1 but still pushing the cars to the limit I mused on the difference between the rubber these cars were using and the marshmallow rubber F1 uses from Pirelli. Well, Michelin have made a bid to supply rubber to Formula One in 2017.

Personally I'd like to see more than one tyre supplier but if Michelin could supply durable and fast tyres, akin to the WEC rubber they make, I could live with that. It's a shame the brief Pirelli were given by FIA/FOM was to produce a tyre which falls to bits as I'm sure they are more than capable of offering what Michelin would like to make. Their time in F1 certainly hasn't done their reputation as a racing tyre supplier much good.
I like Michelin very much, and they were the victims of political manoeuvrings more than once in their last stint in F1, but I'm a bit surprised that they've bid for the contract, given the conditions that Pirelli have been expected to work under. The company line always used to be that they weren't interesting in being a sole supplier, since the value for them was in beating their rivals, and being able to do development work of real value for their R&D functions.

So either they've had a change of heart, or their proposal is going to be markedly different from that of Pirelli - in which case it would be unlikely to get the approval of the teams or FIA, I guess, so it's strange.

I'd like to see at least one season of F1 without pitstops, just out of curiosity. It is supposed to be a sprint category, after all.
or their proposal is going to be markedly different from that of Pirelli
As I understand it, they are only prepared to supply tyres if F1 moves to 18" rims, which is unlikely considering the teams rejected it not so long ago.
The problem with the tyres is two fold. Firstly, when we had a tyre war, it was in fact a Ferrari vs Whoever was on Michelins war. We need to avoid the situation where by one of the tyre suppliers develops its tyres bespoke for the leading team and bugger the rest.

Back in the mid-70's one of the contributing factors that caused the Lotus 72 to lose pace with the rest of the field was that Goodyear were no longer prepared to make bespoke tyres for the car. Could you imagine a tyre maker telling a recent world champion that in this day and age?

The second factor is that the teams now have too much data on tyre wear and tyre technology. The idea behind the fading rubber was to reintroduce that uncertainty where by one driver would start to lose grip while the chasing driver would find a few tenths more after saving his tyres. That was the norm in 80's racing with some tyre makers being better at some tracks and some better at others. Some drivers making it through on hard tyres without stopping while others stopped and ran two stints on softs. All of that of course has been ruined by the modern rules about using two different compounds in a race and by the fact that virtually all of the teams match each other and cover each other on strategy.

To make the tyres more relevent to racing, tyre makers need to produce their rubber without any input from the teams, make 4 different compounds from which a team may pick two to use on a race weekend and then race day strategy can be freed up to allow a team to have as many or as few stops as they like.
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Further to my last, there is always a lot of talk about making Friday more relevent to the race weekend. This would happen if the teams had access to all four (from my example above) tyre compounds on the Friday and could test those compounds to determine which two they would like to use come Saturday and Sunday. In the event that it was wet for both sessions on Friday they could still carry out runs in Practice 3 on Saturday. I can't remember the last time it was wet on both Friday and Saturday but in that event the tyre manufacturers would specify the two compounds based on their data and a set up session could be added to Sunday morning for safety.

This would add some interest to Friday because teams would want to try out tyre combinations, work out strategies and set the car up. Also, imagine if the hards lasted the race but the super softs were quick over a lap or two before seriously going off. Would a team risk picking the Super Softs for Qually, as used to be the case with qually tyres, then running the hards in the race? This would of course see the removal of the tyres you qualify you start with rule?? Another team may find that it's quicker to run softs, maybe compramise qually a little against the Super Soft runners but their car works better on the softs during the race as they can lap faster against those on hards. Then there's the fact that the Soft or Medium runners have to make up enough time to keep a pit stop in hand against the non-stopping hard teams. Doesn't that sound more interesting than what we have now??
I just started to post some crap about how it would be difficult to ship all the tyres required around the world for each race and then worked out that for a 20 car grid Pirelli only bring 1,500 tyres per event. If they took all 4 dry compounds this would only increase to 2,500.

I know this is sad but I then calculated the volume of each tyre and how many would fit into a standard 40ft container. This number of tyres would easily fit into 3 40ft containers. Not exactly a huge number to ship about is it?
I doubt they would all fit in three containers as the tyres are housed in special racks to correctly support and store them.
To make the tyres more relevent to racing, tyre makers need to produce their rubber without any input from the teams, make 4 different compounds from which a team may pick two to use on a race weekend and then race day strategy can be freed up to allow a team to have as many or as few stops as they like.


Which come to think of it was pretty much the way it used to be till about 1987 or so. Then Goodyear became F1's sole supplier for a while and when Pirelli arrived a couple of years later they imposed all sorts of restrictions on tyres.
Why they had to tamper with it isn't clear. There used to be something like four different tyre suppliers in the early eighties period, all with a wide choice of compounds free for teams to choose at any one time, and even free to have different compounds on each of the four wheels. Certainly made races more unpredictable and the quality of races was certainly heightened for it.

Why they had to tamper with a winning formula sod only knows.
It was a very simplistic calculation which said they could fit 2,500 tyres into 2.3 40ft containers. Even with a storage system I would think they could get all the rubber into to 4 shipping containers.
Michelin would only come back on their terms for the tyre regulation. That means they will not accept the current regulations that Pirelli operate under


Tyre ware was great but then you then always ask is the performance of the car /driver down to the car itself or driver or actually the tyres?

Bridgestone vs Michelin was a bit lopsided towards Ferrari because of the bespoke tyres and probably gave Ferrari about 0.5-1 second a lap advantage... I really dreaded 2002 season after a few laps because you just knew Ferrari were going to run away before the michelin shod teams got up to speed

Then Jean Todt was a moaning political player always trying to find ways to shaft Michelin when he was Ferrari team principal
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In relation to the potential problems of transporting so many tyres, they could always drop a compound and go for Hard, Medium and Soft. I seem to remember in the mid 80's there was only Hard, Soft and Qually so it's the same as that. (plus teams were able to run far more sets of tyres without restriction in those days)
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problem with pirelli is that the when they 1st came in they were brilliant & did make for some good racing problem is that now the tyres have become ever more durable every season, rumour from the drivers in monaco was that the 2015 super soft in monaco was akin to a 2012 medium which is why they were struggling for temperature. so basically now we got the pirelli that last almost as long as the bridgestone but still just as fragile in the dirty air which means it no longer a grand prix just tyre conservation.

i dont care who the tyre supplier or suppliers are as long as the drivers can follow each other closely & run in the dirty air without the tyres falling off a performance cliff
the problem was when Bridgestone's were the sole supplier - they had tyres which potentially could do 100 laps .. now if it were not for the rule that you must use both sets of tyres in the race then everyone would simply do the race on one set . This to me meant the slower cars like Sauber and Force India on circuits like Hungary, Valencia and Monaco where passing is impossible simply were going to do the race on one set for 90% of the distance and then pit.

It frustrated me because they were being mobile chicanes and spoiling the race for the front runners
yeah that was a problem but at least they could run close to each other, now pirelli are ridiculous in china the drivers were struggling to get within 2 secs of each other

also had a shock during the skyf1 buildup when they were discussing this & button was reminiscing about the tyre war of 04/05, how michelins did a entire race distance on 1 tyre. shocked about how its over a decade since kimis tyre blew on the final lap at nurburgring that race was fantastic should a tense ending

What we need is to get Goodyear, Michelin, Pirelli, Dunlop, Firestone etc etc to all be avalible to provide F1 tyres. That way if they do favour one team it doesn't matter because you'd still have 4 or 5 favoured teams and thus it woukd mix the order up depending on which tyre suits which track best.

Not going to happen but ideally thats what we want.
Simple rule, no supplier can provide tyres to more than three teams. Now get out there and sort your own supplier out.....

For those smaller teams, the FIA could contract one supplier to provide control tyres at a fixed fee.
When it was Michelin vs Bridgestone - the regulations started out as no supplier was able to provide more than 50% of the field

In the end it was 70% Michelin and 30% Bridgestone because the big teams all felt that Bridgestone were just providing tyres for Ferrari in their competition with Michelin so that rule went out of the window

Whilst both Renault and Williams made the initial move when Michelin came back. Mclaren were frustrated by mid 2001 instead of getting equal treatment on the tyres because they were actually challenging Ferrari for the world title so made the switch

BAR made the switch in 2003 because they felt they had a good car but the results were not as good as they would have liked .
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