Michelin and Pirelli prepared to be F1’s only tire supplier

UPDATE Pirelli has confirmed that it has no intention of ending its involvement in the World Rally Championship should it prove to be successful with its application to re-enter the Formula One arena next season.

The Italian tire company last week revealed that it was to perform a U-turn on previously stated claims that it had no interest in replacing Bridgestone for 2011, but its confirmation sparked concern among WRC competitors, who feared that relationships built up in recent years would be ended at a stroke. Adding to the fears is the fact that Pirelli is in the final year of a three-year deal to supply control tires to the WRC and the 'junior' championships running under its umbrella, but a company spokesman insists that its backing for rallying remains strong.

"We currently have no intention of leaving the WRC," he told Autoweek, pointing out that Pirelli had tendered for another three-year WRC deal, "We consider both projects entirely separately and evaluate them both on their individual values and benefits."

Pirelli last raced in F1 in 1991, but has confirmed that it will rival expected bids from Michelin and Cooper/Avon to replace Bridgestone as official supplier to the top flight after Michelin proposed a move to 18-inch rims common to its sportscar program

05/07/10 (GMM) Michelin has now made a solid proposal to the FIA after weeks of speculation linking the French tire supplier with a return to formula one.

A Bloomberg report said chief executive Michel Rollier wants an official response soon, with one of the conditions being rule changes to show "the environmental dimension".

According to Reuters, managing partner Didier Mariton said after a shareholders' meeting that Michelin will only return if it has a rival tire supplier to compete with.

But Rollier brief reporters that Michelin is prepared to be the only supplier next year as long as the rules allow other companies to also offer their tires to teams.

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