With Bridgestone announcing its decision to not be the sole tyre supplier in the 2011 formula one season, an off track war seems to be brewing for the position of tyre supplier to the FIA with big companies expressing interest. Foremost among these are the Cooper tyre company, Michelin and Pirelli. All 3 companies are said to be in close consultations with the FIA. The actual nature of the negotiations are still unknown and are happening behind close doors.
Cooper Avon is one of the 1st to officially confirm that they are in talks with the FIA.
“As a major motorsport tyre manufacturer Cooper Tire, through its Avon Tyres Motorsport operation, has been approached to supply Formula One,” Cooper Tyres spokesperson was quoted
“The company is in discussion with the relevant parties and cannot comment further at this stage.”
Bernie Ecclestone is reported to prefer the cheaper option presented by Cooper Avon company.
Michelin too has expressed interest to return to formula one and have apparently submitted a technical bid to the FIA on the matter. The French company is rumoured to be lobbying the FIA to accept tyre specs that would suit those being manufactured by Michelin for other sports cars. Michelin are the most recent tyre manufacturer who have participated in formula one apart from Bridgestone.
The Italian company Pirelli too is seriously eyeing a comeback to formula one. They are known more for their stationary items 😛 , but apparently their tyres are top class too. In an interview to a F1 magazine the company’s motorsport director Paul Hembury was quoted as saying :
“Nothing is concrete yet, but we understand that with the possibility of 18-inch tyres, and the fact that the commercial reality has changed compared to the previous environment, then F1 is something that we are now looking into.
“We are always in contact, and remain in contact, with the FIA and the F1 promoter – and that is something that continues year on year. We’ve been aware of the ongoing situation in F1 and that is really what has led to our latest situation.”
There are also rumours that the latest tyre situation may force the FIA to give benefits to the tyre companies in order to attract them to formula one, in which case even Bridgestone might want to return to the sport.