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F1 tyre contract: Bernie to decide

2015-07-23 08:31

MICHELIN OR PIRELLI? Bernie Ecclestone will decide which tyre manufacturer will receive the sport's 2017 tyre-supplier contract. Image: Shutterstock / Steve Mann

ALAN BALDWIN

BUDAPEST, Hungary - Bernie Ecclestone will decide whether Michelin or current supplier Pirelli will win a  three-year tyre contract in Formula 1 from 2017.

Both tyre makers passed technical and safety hurdles.

The governing International Automobile Federation said on Wednesday (July 22 2015), ahead of the Hungarian F1 GP, that the two had met the requirements to become approved bidders and had been submitted to the sport's commercial rights holder.

BIAS CHOICE?

Ecclestone, the commercial supremo who represents controlling shareholder CVC, will conduct negotiations with both and make a decision for the federation's World Motor Sport Council to approve.

The body's next scheduled meeting will be on September 30 in Paris.

Michelin withdrew from F1 in 2006, a year after a farcical US GP that went ahead with only six cars after all the Michelin-equipped teams pulled out on safety grounds.

The sport has had a sole supplier since then, first Bridgestone then, from 2011, Pirelli.

Ecclestone indicated earlier in 2015 year that he favoured retaining Pirelli, which also invests heavily in trackside advertising.

Ecclestone said in May 2015: "All Michelin would do is make a rock-hard tyre that you could put on in January and take off in December - they don't want to be in a position where they can be criticised."

Pirelli's F1 compounds have been engineered to degrade, a move intended to widen strategy options and encourage overtaking. Michelin has said it is not prepared to make a tyre that would not last.

Michelin motorsport head Pascal Couasnon told Reuters in June 2015 that his company had no interest in supplying tyres to F1 unless the sport agreed to change the specification from 13 to at least 18 inch.

The current federation tender document opens the way for an increase in diameter "if the tyre manufacturer feels there may be advantages to the competitors by doing so".

F1 will be racing is in Hungary this weekend - the 10th race of the season.

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2015 Formula 1 season. Fresh reports every day.

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