How times and opinions shift quickly!
Having gone from a period where F1 seemed to be struggling to attract any tyre supplier to replace Bridgestone in 2011, we’ve shifted in the matter of weeks to having three potential suppliers trying to get in on the act!
With Michelin and Cooper Avon now both considering a bid for the 2011 tyre supplier deal – very much on their terms, it seems – Italian tyre maker Pirelli has now joined in the mix, saying it might reconsider its earlier position of not wanting to re-enter F1
While Pirelli wages up whether or not to make a formal approach, Michelin (favoured by the Formula 1 Teams’ Association) and Cooper Avon (favoured by Bernie Ecclestone and the smaller teams, due to its lower supply costs) look set to battle it out in the ‘Tyre Supply Derby’ until further notice.
Pirelli’s initial reluctance to join the F1 fray was because F1 would not allow it to develop “tyres for racing that will also be used on the road”.
However, after a shareholder’s meeting in Milan, Pirelli chairman Marco Tronchetti Provera confirmed that Pirelli was considering a rethink, provided of course that certain conditions could be met.
Pirelli seems to be following Michelin’s approach of wanting the wheel diameters increased from 13- to 18-inch diameters, and would also want its supply arrangement to be economically beneficial for it.
Italy’s ANSA and Il Giornale are both quoting Tronchetti Provera as saying that Pirelli would "look into this [F1] world with greater attention" if those conditions could be met, but also insisted that “there is nothing” more to this speculation at this stage.
Pirelli contested in Formula 1 Grands Prix during the 1980s and early 1990s. It’s last race victory came at the 1991 Canadian GP with Nelson Piquet doing the honours for Benetton (pictured), before it pulled out of F1 involvement at season’s end.