Michelin to make run at F1 (2nd Update)
It is already known that the French marque, like the sport's current partner Pirelli, has been approved by the FIA and forwarded to Bernie Ecclestone for negotiations about the new deal.
But it was strongly believed that the clear favorite is the incumbent Pirelli, mainly because F1 supremo Ecclestone supports the Italian company's approach with 'show'-designed degrading tires and lucrative trackside advertising deals.
It was also said that Pirelli has the backing of the teams in not wanting to switch to an 18-inch rim profile, as per Michelin's demands.
According to three authoritative media reports, however, Michelin should not be considered out of the running quite yet.
The German-language Speed Week said the announcement of the 2017 decision is actually now overdue, indicating that negotiations between Pirelli and Ecclestone have been intense.
And the BBC reports that Ecclestone "is coming under pressure behind the scenes to pick Michelin rather than Pirelli", as the fallout of the Spa blowout saga continues.
"Governing body the FIA is also said to have doubts about the Italian company," the report added.
Tensions between Pirelli and leading drivers are also running high, as when Sebastian Vettel was asked at Suzuka about the controversial new high pressure regulations, the Ferrari driver insisted: "No comment really."
And in a third media report, by Germany's authoritative Auto Motor und Sport, it is explained that the Pirelli vs Michelin race is "still quite open".
"The sympathies of the teams are evenly distributed" between Michelin and Pirelli, it said, adding that while Ecclestone is on Pirelli's side, Michelin has a powerful ally in the form of Frenchman and FIA president Jean Todt.
09/30/15 The BBC's Andrew Benson reported Ecclestone "is coming under pressure behind the scenes to pick Michelin rather than Pirelli" as the sport's next tire supplier. Pirelli's deal began in '11 but it is in competition with Michelin for the new contract that runs from '17-19.
Several leading teams have "expressed a preference for a change because of concerns about Pirelli after a series of problems."
The FIA is also said to "have doubts about the Italian company." One leading figure said, "There is a number of people making that position clear to Bernie." BBC
06/11/15 Michelin competitions director Pascal Couasnon says that a decision on whether the French manufacturer will apply for the 2017 Formula 1 supply tender is still undecided and "at least 50/50".
The FIA opened up the tire tender contract for the sport recently and invited companies to apply for the 2017, 2018 and 2019 contract.
Speaking to Motorsport.com today, Couasnon said a decision by Michelin is expected over the next few days.
"We are giving ourselves a few days to decide but as we stand now it is at least 50/50," Couasnon told Motorsport.com.
"We have our ideas and we have talked about these ideas and we want to give the possibility to the teams to apply them well, so I would say that in the next few days we will finally decide and next week we will know what is happening."
Michelin has already indicated it will not supply a 13-inch F1 tire and is believed to back free compound choice and larger product diameters.
"It is clear that Michelin is open and willing to discuss things like this (the current diameter tire) but we believe it would not make sense in respecting the tire so it will be extremely difficult for us," concluded Couasnon.
Tire makers have until June 17 to lodge their applications and Motorsport.com understands that a formal internal decision from Michelin will be decided on Monday.