Michelin vs Pirelli: Which tyres are right for F1?

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The outcome of a decision which will have a profound effect on the nature of F1 racing between 2017 and 2019 will be made public in the coming weeks.

Pirelli, which has been F1’s official tyre supplier since 2011, and Michelin, which last appeared in F1 in 2006, are vying to become the sole provider of rubber to the world championship after next season.

Michelin’s vision for the future of F1’s tyres is strikingly different from what Pirelli provides today. Which would you prefer to see F1 embrace?

Pirelli: The F1 philosophy

Having successfully bid for the last two tenures as sole F1 tyre supplier from 2011 to 2013, and 2014 to 2016, Pirelli has aligned itself with F1’s current thinking on what sort of tyres are best for the sport and the show.

The 2010 Canadian Grand Prix strongly influenced the brief given to Pirelli when they returned to F1 the following year. The Italian tyre brand were told to produce tyres which would degrade rapidly, and typically require drivers to make two or three pit stops per race.

As well as sticking to this brief, Pirelli has also declared itself content to stick with F1’s antiquated high-profile tyres and tiny 13-inch wheels – a format seldom found on modern road cars.

Michelin: Performance and profile

Michelin has set out two very clear requirements if it is to return to Formula One.

The French manufacturer wants F1 to move away from using tyres which are designed to degrade, and are instead created to allow drivers to drive the car to the limit of its performance for longer.

It also wants F1 to switch to more modern low-profile tyres, trading the current 13-inch wheels for 18-inches or more. This would bring it into line with trends in road car sales, as well as other championships where Michelin supplies tyres, such as the World Endurance Championship and Formula E.

I say

It seems to me that since the era of ‘designed to degrade’ tyres began in 2011, teams have increasingly mastered the variables Pirelli have thrown at them. It reminds me of what happened when refuelling was reintroduced in 1994: it caught a few teams out during the first years, but it quickly stopped producing surprises.

This leads me to wonder whether the current tyre philosophy is doing F1 more harm than good. It’s taken the drivers a long time to find their voice on the subject (Mark Webber notwithstanding), but it seems many of them are unhappy at the lengths they are having to go to nurse the current generation of tyres.

Furthermore, F1’s slump in speeds over recent seasons needs addressing, and unlocking more performance from the tyres could be a useful way of doing that without resorting to costly changes in the technical rules.

The question of wheel size is, for me, a purely aesthetic one. The current 13-inch wheels look outdated to me, and I’m sure that if teams had the freedom to pick their wheel sizes they would have already moved to larger wheels for pure performance reasons.

You say

Which tyre supplier do you think has the right philosophy for F1? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Which tyre manufacturer has the right vision for F1?

  • No opinion (5%)
  • Neither (3%)
  • Michelin (46%)
  • Mostly Michelin, partly Pirelli (25%)
  • Mostly Pirelli, partly Michelin (11%)
  • Pirelli (10%)

Total Voters: 446

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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134 comments on “Michelin vs Pirelli: Which tyres are right for F1?”

  1. Woah first vote! I dont think my opinion will be the popular one tho ;)
    I voted to give pirelli a chance to play around with compound options and get a good rep again but i think their is a place for Michelin if they want it.

    1. The degradation issue is something we can discuss but what is it again with tyre sizes?

      I’ve said it time and time again: why does it matter? bitter, taller tyres make everything worse, except the possibility of fitting bigger brakes. On pure pace, bigger tyres are far worse: they make the car accelerate slower, and it’s a lot more intertia the car has to beat to move. It’s just plain worse. Also from an aerodynamic point of view.

      If they kept the 13 inches but made them wider, on the other hand, it’d improve grip a whole lot. But 18 inches tyres are not necessary for that.

      1. @fer-no65, I don’t think performance would be substantially worse by default, just cause it’s 18″. The wheel will have a larger diameter yes, but the outside tire wall will be thinner. So overall dimensions won’t differentiate much (haven’t seen exact specs). Now you can argue what has more mass, a thick tire with 13″ wheels, or a thin tire with 18″ wheels. It is also said that currently about half of the dampening of an F1 car is done by the tires. Teams know tire behavior because of experience, but by no means are the dampening properties of the tire anywhere near optimal or fully reliable. By going to tires with thinner outer walls, less emphasis is put on tire deformation and more on actual suspension configuration on the car, making it a more crucial part and more of an area for teams to make advances in.

        Also, and this is pure speculation from my side; the mass to surface ratio would be less on thin-walled tires which comes with the 18″ wheels. This could potentially make it easier for the drivers to heat up the tires.

        1. @me4me from what we’ve seen in testing, the 18 inches tyres is far taller. That means there’s a lot more moment of inertia from them (the bigger the ring, the higher the momentum) and it takes a lot more torque to make them spin.

          It also increases gearing, so they’d have to redesign the gearboxes for shorter ratios, affecting top speed by quite a big margin.

          Also, the alloy in the wheel is far heavier than the nitrogen they use to inflate the tyres. So the the bigger the wheel, the heavier it gets. That’s unsprung mass, and that affects handling quite a lot, not to mention the safety aspect of a tyre getting loose, magnifying the problem compared to current tyres.

          Dampening, as you say, partly comes from the tyre sidewall. It’s not as optimal as a proper coilover, of course, but they use it. It’ll probably be better from a set up point of view to have harder tyres that have little air in them, so the difference between cold and hot tyres is marginally smaller in terms of pressure, and use the suspension to fully tune up the car, but it’s some engineering in there and it obviously raises costs. Along with the gearbox redesign I doubt the teams want to spend on that.

          Then there’s the aero drag. Teams are always developing ways to get the airflow round the tyres, specially the front tyres. Taller wheels obviously have a bigger frontal surface, and it also creates problems with the rotation of the tyre and wheel. A wider tyre would have the same effect, but it’d be a massive step ahead in grip, unlike the taller tyre that marginally increases the contact patch.

          I agree, F1 should be all about new challenges, but this is just not necessary, it won’t make a difference to the viewer appart from looks (and that’s subjective) and it’s a huge cost involved, and it could even produce slower cars.

          So, IMO, if there’s nothing to gain from it, it shouldn’t be done. 18 inches is just a marketing tool, Michelin wants to sell bigger tyres.

          1. Until Michelin give us definitive answers on the mass and diameter of the proposed 18″ wheel compared to the current 13″ wheels this argument cannot be settled, my belief is Michelin are not proposing an overall substantially bigger and heavier wheel/tyre combo.

          2. 18″ is too big, the pitcrew will have difficultly handeling them which could bring danger. I think 14″ is large enough but they could make them wider and if the frontwing is as wide the space between the two front tyres could inprove aero for overtaking.

          3. @macleod @fer-no65 You guys are all confusing the physics about what you’re reading. @hohum has it right: Until we know the overall weight of the tyre/wheel combo and the distribution of the MASS, you’re completely guessing as to which has better performance.

            The overall diameter of the entire wheel/tyre is supposed to be the same so that will not be any different for the pit crew. The rear tyres are supposed to be wider…so that could play a role in how easy they are to handle for pit crews.

            But unless you have specs about how heavy the bigger rims + low profile tyres are compared with the smaller 13″ rims are with the larger rubber tyres….then we are totally guessing which one has more inertia to overcome.

            @me4me does have a point about the current tyres providing about 50% of the dampening effect which means a very different setup for the suspension. But suspension is my area of least expertise so all I can say to that is “it’s different”. I have no idea how that will affect overall performance.

          4. I’ve been searching around and found this from a 2011 article. No idea if it’s still accurate or what the specs would be for the new, larger wheel/tyre combo.
            Total weight of a front wheel and tyre = 8.5kg approx
            Total weight of a rear wheel and tyre = 9.5kg approx

          5. @daved, with regards to the weight of the wheel, we know that the prototype 18 inch wheels that Pirelli produced for Lotus’s test in 2014 were approximately 4kg heavier: similarly, I believe that the weight of the wheels that Michelin produced for the Formula Renault 3.5 series also fractionally increased.

            Whilst it is hard to quantify – and I suspect that Michelin will not want to publicly discuss the technical aspects of their tyres at this stage – I would suspect that, given what we have seen in other series, there would probably be a slight increase in the weight of the wheels.

          6. @daved, I think your right we have to wait for the overal physics of the ratio tyre/wheel. I was more thinking for the aero aspect of the tyre which is confusing. My excuse for that.

          7. anon,
            Thanks for the numbers. WOW. Was that 4kg total or 4kg at each wheel?!? Regardless, that’s unsrpung weight so any extra weight is essentially “doubled” as far as the performance penalty.

            If this is correct then @fer-no65 is right and this could really affect performance.
            @macleod also brings up a good point about the aero aspect as I was completely ignoring that.

          8. Your points are well taken regarding [acceleration and aerodynamics]…Unfortunately, because of the success of ‘advertising’ by certain auto and tire manufacturing companies acting together to sell their products, they have sold the false notion to the general public that, “bigger” is better: not necessarily so…and, difficult to educate otherwise. Some to be fair are, only concerned with their subjective reasoning in terms of what they believe [looks good] with performance not even in the equation.

      2. You are right: every other part of an F1 car is the best money can buy, or close to it, and it is often built specifically for the F1 environment, so one would expect the same with tyres. Whether the tyres are 18 inch wheels or 13 inch wheels, the result would be the same: very expensive tyres that are built for the F1 environment.
        Regarding aerodynamics, I think 18 inch wheels would produce more dirty air behind a car than 13 inch wheels do. I base this on the observation that when you look at a vehicle driving during the rain you can see the spray from the road is being ejected in a type of wave formation, this means the air is oscillating in the direction the car is travelling, which would adding to the turbulent air behind a car. Since dirty air is one of the culprits blamed for lack of overtaking, I don’t know if shifting to an 18 inch wheel would actually give you easier overtaking. Of course, it may be that if you were allowed to add appropriately shaped “mud flaps” behind the rear wheel to reduce this turbulence you might get a higher top speed from the car.

      3. one point where larger wheels with thinner tyres are clearly an advantage is in heating them up. And off course the brakes as you already mentioned @fer-no65. 18″ wheels would certainly be somewhat heavier (I think most teams mentioned about 1 KG per wheel) and would require a new thinking about suspension, potentially throwing the form book around, which is what the teams that are in the strategy group are quite wary off (afraid to be the one to miss the boat). And off course the complete redesign of suspension would also bring some cost.

        On the other hand, we might have a look at different brake materials as they would now fit into the large wheels.

        As for grip, I think wider tyres would do the job anyhow, regardless of whether they are on small or large rims, so that is not an argument for either side (its not a choice about going wider or not here).

    2. Jeffrey Spencer
      16th August 2015, 20:38

      What diameter wheel tire combo offers the best performance? 18″ make give the look of performance, but that’s about look. Weight increases a bunch with larger diameter wheel tire combinations. If its about “the look”, put them on 22s donk them and make them run spinners. I read a road car test several years back wear the 16′ wheel tire combo offered the best lap time, cornering and braking performance. I am not sure how this translates to F1, but to my mind, performance should drive the discussion and the solution, not “look”.

      1. Ask any of the F1 engineers and they will tell you the easiest and cheapest way to make F1 cars faster is by making better tyres/wheels.

        The only time performance is mentioned in the F1 rulebook is when its being hampered. Be it for safty, looks or “the show”.

  2. I understand the poll, but what you’re really asking is the type of tyres would be best for F1, not the logo that is on them. I’m sure Pirelli can develop a durable 18 inch tyre, too.

    1. I’m not voting on this one because I don’t think it makes any sense. Only Michelin are offering “a vision” of what the tyres should be because Pirelli are have the contract anyway and don’t need to publicly state such things. I have no idea what Pirelli’s vision of F1 tyres would be. Not that it matters because surely the only vision that matters is that of F1 itself?? Both companies are perfectly competent for the tender whatever F1 wants. The poll makes no sense on multiple levels.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        16th August 2015, 16:09

        Agree – not sure what Pirelli’s vision is, and thus how to vote. @hey

        My vision is that both manufacturers should enter and produce the best tyre the can. The teams have to use both makes each race. It will be interesting to see how many laps each manufacturer gets; and thus which tyre is best.
        (PS if you want to vote for ‘my vision’ chose ‘no opinion’ or ‘neither’ above)

        1. I would like to see both manufacturers, and maybe Bridgestone too. But you can’t jut change out different size tires. A lot of people say it’s unfair when one team seems to be profiting because they are on a different set of rubber. I say, open up the specifications for the tires, but allow the tire makers to keep the ‘process’ (production) a ‘trade secret’. Perhaps allow a lead of 3 months before other manufacturers can use the same formula (compound/construction).

          1. More importantly make any tyre used by 1 team available to any other team that wants to use it.

    2. Fikri Harish (@)
      16th August 2015, 13:54

      It really doesn’t matter who the supplier is going to be if all they’re going to do is do whatever Ecclestone wants them to do.

    3. @jaapgrolleman agreed. I voted no opinion because it doesn’t really matter who the supplier is if the have to abide by the same rules.

      People only vote Michelin because they want a change, or they somehow blame Pirelli for making the tires they were asked to make.

    4. Why the suggestion of 18 inch at all though? Is it just marketing for the manufacturer, because they have more experience with low profile and so think they would have an easier job producing them, or is it performance? If it’s the first, I couldn’t care less. The second, only if it improves costs for the teams- but that would have to include re-designing suspension and possibly a large part of the cars as a result. The third I’m curious about.

      Unfortunately I’ve not seen anything to suggest it’s more than marketing so far.

      1. @matt90, the primary reason for Michelin to push 18 inch tyres does appear to be marketing, as it ties into a shift they want to make to their sales range.

        At the moment, most of Michelin’s sales within the automotive sector comes from 15 to 16 inch medium profile tyres – basically, the sort of tyres that you would expect to see on a light truck or typical car.

        However, that sector is also the most competitive sector in the automotive market and, in recent years, Michelin have started to lose market share in that sector. Like for like, their turnover is down 3.4% compared to the same period in 2014 and their net income is even more sharply down (-8.5%) as Michelin have had to cut their prices slightly in order to compete with their rivals. They’d already announced a drive to cut costs but, due to weak sales, they’re now trying to save another €200 million on top of the €1 billion of cuts they’d already planned to make.

        By contrast, Pirelli, being a much smaller manufacturer, have tended to angle their tyre range towards the sportscar market and tended to have a higher proportion of lower profile, larger diameter tyres, particularly as automotive manufacturers have moved in that direction for aesthetic reasons.

        Now, because of the “sporty” image associated with that type of tyre, Pirelli can charge more of a premium for that – so, although their overall sales volumes dipped slightly this year (0.8% down), their profitability has actually increased compared to 2014 thanks to the fact that their premium tyres has been doing fairly well.

        Unsurprisingly, given that Pirelli’s profit margin is quite a bit better than Michelin’s margins, Michelin have decided to copy their tactics and to move more of their range into the sportscar market, where they can charge a premium for their products.

        As part of that strategy, it is therefore in Michelin’s interests to promote 18 inch tyres – a particularly profitable market segment – by creating a strong visual link between motorsport and their particular tyres. It is why Michelin wanted their Formula E tyres to resemble their road tyres and why they want their Formula Renault 3.5 tyres to do the same – because it reinforces the marketing message they want to promote by creating that visual link between fast cars and their brand.

        Equally, because 18 inch tyres are in widespread use in the WEC, there is also another commercial incentive for Michelin to push the use of 18 inch tyres – it would be cheaper for them if they could use the same manufacturing equipment for the WEC and for F1.

  3. Pirelli blew up a few tyres and are now playing it to safe and killing racing. Anything is better than that mess.

    1. @rethla
      That’s my thought as well. They were great for racing in the first two years (Webber and Alonso were in favour of them) but they are anti-competitive now. They should degrade consistently but they must be much racier than they are currently.

    2. Lets not foget Michelin created a much bigger farce than Pirelli ever managed….

      1. Indy was indeed a farce, but let’s not judge the company on one nightmare weekend. Aside from that, they did a fantastic job for F1, whereas Pirelli (albeit under instruction) have made a significant contribution to the tedious management which so often makes current F1 a laughing stock.

        1. its a laughing stock because of the down force which is being obtained via the front wing spec’s, change the front wing so its not dependent on making so much down force and tyres will not work so hard and degrade like they do,
          they could change the chassis to recoup the down force then will have full on racing again,
          just make sure they cant have double defuses and the like.

          1. @lethalnz
            Are you suggesting aero restrictions are to blame for processional races rather than post-Silverstone 2013 tyres?

          2. I think you will find that less front wing will create more slip increasing tyre temp and thus degredation, just like turbulent air does. So yes change the wing, but change the tyres too. @lethalnz

  4. Michelin.

    1. I guess I’ll change my vote then since your reasoning is so airtight.

    2. As of right now, Pirelli really aren’t playing the same role in F1 and have the same impact on the racing as they had back in 2011-mid 2013. Ever since then, Pirelli’s role has been minimized.

      On another note, Michelin would destroy Pirelli in a tyre war, to such an extend that it wouldn’t be fair to all the teams using Pirelli tyres.

      When watching Hungary 2006, I couldn’t help but notice the enormous operating window of the Michelin intermediates. The same tyres that Button drove through monsoon conditions, he could drive through almost bone-dry conditions. This was because when the grooves wore down, the Michelin would actually turn into a competitive slick for a while.

      Pirelli cannot compete with Michelin. Michelin would tear Pirelli a new one in a tyre war.

  5. Wouldn’t a tyre manufacturer have to do what they were told to anyway…? So surely it doesn’t matter who makes them – it’s the brief given to them that needs to be changed, if anything. And I’m not sure more durable tyres are the answer anyway – when tyres were harder, there were still problems with overtaking or producing exciting races or whatever, which is why the degrading tyres were introduced in the first place! Who cares if F1 cars are faster if there’s no overtaking or close racing? That’s what we all want to see, but I don’t think anyone has the definitive answer on how to produce it, and measures seem increasingly desperate – just throw anything at the issue and see if it sticks. Messing with the tyres just seems like another shot in the dark!

  6. Makes no difference. Pirelli is delivering the compounds they have been asked to deliver. The brand is irrelevant. Both brands have the know how to make good tires.

    1. Precisely.

      1. But that is not the question we have voted on, the question is ” who has the right vision for F1″.

        1. @hohum You don’t honestly believe the tyre company has any significant input on the ‘right vision for F1’ do you?
          It is a leading question buddy.

    2. Just like Honda, biggest engine maker in the world, is delivering the engines they have been asked to deliver?
      Ofc the brand is relevant…

      1. apples and oranges, developing durable tire is lot easier than developing reliable engines.

      2. I don’t think McLaren asked Honda to make engines that don’t finish races or get F1 cars out of Q1. But Pirelli *have* been asked to make tyres that degrade quickly, and that’s what they’ve been doing.

        1. I didnt know Pirelli was asked to produce tyres that forces the teams to sacrifice pace and performance to get an unwieldy tyre into its tiny working window on a one stop strategy.

          1. But Michelin would’ve done exactly the same thing if they’d been asked to produce tyres…

          2. @elyndys19 how do you know that? Maybe they’d decide against making F1 tyres instead!

      3. If Honda were competing in a single-engine championship then there wouldn’t be an issue. As they are competing in a multi-engine formula, their approach has been different and your analogy is irrelevant.

  7. Pirelli, I wanna see overtaking, not 200mph trains of cars following each other.

    1. ……….following each other 2 seconds apart .

      1. Exactly @hohum. This is clearly no longer a problem that can be resolved with gimmicky tyres, but is a chronic issue with the balance of aerodynamic grip generation.

  8. No opinion.

    Although Gajah Tunggal ply tyres would be very nice, thank you!

    1. +1 haha you just nailed it mate, cheers from Indonesia

      1. @rezapratama24 I live in Indonesia as well, but embarrasingly, I have no idea what “Gajah Tunggal” is?

        1. They are tyre manufacturer from Indonesia, which they best selling product is GT Radial brands, i’ve heard that the Formula D1 Championship in Japan were using their tyres…

    2. Achilles!
      …the brand irony of tyre as as car’s heel.

  9. If i remember correctly lot of people picked making driving more challenging for drivers in a recent poll, so how nursing tires is not part of that challenge, each driver has own unique ability, this can be a great leveller and get unpredictable results sometimes.

    1. Because if it is to be a challenge then I think the majority would now rather trickier handling than procession.

      1. I think you are right about the trickier handling. 3 compounds that are slippy but stable over a stint, and two mandatory pit-stops would be better than what we have now. The drivers are always on the limit, but no one outside the pit-wall can truly appreciate the thermal limit the drivers are pushing. Everyone can see when traction is pushed, and if the compound was more stable we would appreciate this more often. I don’t like mandatory pit-stops but if the mandate is 2-3 stops per race, hence 3 compounds.

        The same issue exists with fuel use. According to the graphics, most cars finish with no fuel left (aside form the FIA minimum). Cars have been under-fueled for a long time, but this is only obvious to the pit-wall. If it was up to the driver to manage the fuel use we might see some get it wrong and run out. Only when there is a chance of someone running out do people notice and care about fuel use.

  10. I think Michelins philosophy is heading in the right direction. The wheel size should increase although I’m convinced it has to be 18 inches. The brand, well that doesn’t matter because they will just be playing to what the FIA request of them.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      16th August 2015, 12:56

      Exactly. What the FIA tell them to make is infinitely more important than which manufacturer wins the tender. They could give it to Pirelli and tell them to make 18-inch tyres that last 3 weekends!

      I think Pirelli have done a really good job of what they have been asked to create. It’s very difficult to make tyres that are deliberately bad but area also relatively safe and in reality, other than a few issues, there have been very few tyre failures.

  11. Honestly? The racing is so bad this year that anything at all would be better. Keep Pirelli? Better than this year. Bring Michelin? Better than this year.

    I would like to see a tire war at this stage, even though it’s gonna be pathetic and screw up the sport even more, but again, better than this year for sure!

    Pirelli is gonna wipe the floor with Michelin though.

    1. The Pirelli was a lot slower than the Bridgestone despite being much less durable (as requested) so I’m not sure how they’d add seconds of performance and significant durability to take on Michelin. One of the things about the Pirellis is that they don’t provide chemical grip, only mechanical, whereas the Bridgestone and I think the Michelins used to provide both.

      1. oh lord. the only “grip” that is going on is between the surface of the road and the tires. There is no aero grip, there is no mechanical grip, there is no chemical grip, there is STATIC FRICTION. “Aero” pushes the car down, causing the suspension to compress, also applying more weight to any of the corners of the car. “Mechanical” is the product of the suspension/and perhaps the drive train. And to be frank, you really can’t make a comparison between tires unless they are being raced against each other, which unfortunately is not allowed to happen. Competition isn’t really something the FIA seems to encourage given their current inventory the rules.

        what about driver grip?

  12. I am not purely against tyres that degrade fast over a certain number of laps, the thing I don’t like is that when a driver is stuck behind a car, which might be much slower, he has only a couple of laps before losing the tyres completely at a much faster rate than the car in front. This makes some drivers risk losing ground to the cars behind in case they used their tyres aggressively when they are stuck behind a slower car; and this is what I think is the reason behind many of the recent GPs in the past couple of years which are mostly processional and boring (except for some exciting races every now and then which are usually due to unusual circumstances, like the last Hungarian GP). So unless such unusual circumstances arise, which allow drivers to save tyres or put a new set of tyres for a short stint at the end of the race (and also save fuel of course), we will not see exciting aggressive racing.
    I really do not have a problem with any supplier of tyres if they could deliver tyres that do not degrade fasr after just few laps if drivers used them aggressively.

    1. Yeah – and as several pundits and ex-engineers have pointed out, this is an aero problem, not a tyre problem. Being stuck in the wake of another car is really bad for the driver behind, so they can’t get close enough to pass for very long. But how best to fix the aero problem is another issue!

      1. your onto it Sarah,
        the front wing has become the biggest problem with all its crazy winglets to trap down force which in turn has become useless when following another car,
        time to change it back to the floor catching the d/f and straighten the wing back out.
        just make sure the teams don’t start another double defuser war.

      2. You are right, but I still think that the tyre problem is far worse than it appears, which is obvious during qualifying when cars are in fresh air and when the tyre performance drops significantly after 1 flying lap only as compared to a fresh set. This is why many times drivers that make a mistake during their flying lap usually abort it, because continuing driving to the limits on the tyres will destroy them and will compromise the race performnace, if the tyre set is planned to be a race set.

  13. As others have already mentioned, it’s the FIA’s idea of a “good tyre” we’re seeing right now, not Pirelli’s/Michelin’s/whoever’s. They’re the ones that would need to change their minds first for us to see a return to tyres that actually last some time.

  14. +1 haha you just nailed it mate, cheers from Indonesia

  15. I think tyre companies, and not the FIA or F1, should be responsible for building whatever tyres it thinks would serve F1 the best.

    I don’t care what the logo looks like.

  16. i just think that “the show” philosophy is harming the sport identity, though it’s no fault of Pirelli that they were requested by Bernie.. I think Pirelli were capable to do what Michelin trying to propose, but the brand image were already damaged by those blowout in the Silverstone 2013, so i vote for Michelin though, but i just think Pirelli will get the contract instead…

  17. Mostly Pirelli, partly Michelin.
    In my opinion, Pirelli has done a great job and managed to add a lot of excitement to many races with an unpopular tyre design – before they started bowing to the fans’ and teams’ pressure and made increasingly conservative choices.
    I understand Michelin’s point of view – fast, durable tyres are better for a manufacturer’s image. But are they good for the sport? I have massive doubts about that. Overtaking between similarly strong cars is already very difficult (with the exception of DRS-aided overtakes on some tracks), and without noticeable tyre degradation, it will become a rarity again.
    However, I like Michelin’s idea of changing the tyre design radically. I do resent Keith’s wording, because the current tyres aren’t “antiquated” – they work well on an F1 car. But aside from that, innovation is always welcome and necessary for a regular shake-up of the pecking order.
    In short, I would prefer Pirelli to continue providing tyres in the future – but with a mix of their own and Michelin’s approach.

  18. Pirelli can make a durable, 18″ tyre that can be quick throughout the whole race if they want to.
    I prefer to see the drivers struggling with the tyres, it gives the race more excitement.

  19. After Silverstone 2013, when everyone went nuts as if they had never seen a puncture in F1, Pirelli began to bring tyres that are too hard for the goals they are said to have. And how interesting the resulting one-stoppers are, that´s visible on the rate-the-race-feature on this site.

    That said, the ideal I have in mind would be to have the same competition on tyres like there is on engines, with at least 3-4 different manufacterers. But since that seems completely unreachable at the moment, we might as well continue with the Pirelli´s, they are better than the Bridgestones were (and where Michelin seems to want to go). If they are willing to really go towards their goals again, that is.

    Oh, and the rim-size: I don´t care.

    1. “better than the Bridgestones were” Why ? care to explain ? was it lack of overtaking in 2010 ? I don’t think so . If you like to see drivers suddenly lose grip in the corners when their Pirellis “hit the cliff” you’ll probably like Bernies sprinkler idea too.

  20. I know it’s not the question in the poll, but I have much more faith in Michelin as a motorsport supplier. Pirelli have always seemed a bit amateurish, and whenever they’ve been up against other manufacturers in F1 they’ve come up short.

    As far as the actual question goes, I don’t really care. I have no problem with the current tyre spec (I think the weight increase of the cars is a bigger issue), but moving to a more real-world specification is a fine idea too.

    1. When it comes to looking amateurish, I have seen far worse in other series – perhaps you might want to ask Richard Westbrook or Joao Barbosa about the tyres Continental supplied for the pre-season tests in the United SportsCar Championship in late 2013.

      Both of those drivers had huge accidents in the same test session after tyre blowouts that makes Pirelli’s problems in Silverstone in 2013 look tame – Westbrook’s car was physically thrown into the air by his blowout and ended up cartwheeling down the track at high speed, whilst Barbosa stated that, when the rear tyre on his car blew out, it blew the door off the cockpit. Had Continental not rushed in changes, there was serious talk of forcing the USCC to cancel the entire prototype field in 2014 because there were so many major tyre failures during testing.

      Equally, it could also be said that Michelin’s handling of the “slick intermediates” during the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans leaves something to be desired – quite a few drivers wanted to go back to the old treated tyres, but Michelin refused to bring those tyres back even though Corvette told Michelin that their slick intermediates were dangerous.

      1. I’m sure the respective manufacturers learned a lot from the experience and the tyres on our cars may be better for it.

        1. I really doubt that the tyres we use in real life will be better for it, because the idea of technological transfer from track to road is mostly, if now wholly, marketing from manufacturers trying to make their image look sportier.

          1. But if that was the case the tyre companies would be concentrating on producing long wearing tyres , I’m pretty sure that racing tyres are used to test new compounds that find their way into the “performance” tyres we put on our road cars.

  21. Why must they be 18″ wheels? They looked ridiculous on the lotus. Is there something against a compromise of 16″ wheels? Sounds like typical F1 management philosophy of it didn’t work this way so lets go to the other end of the spectrum and disregard everything inbetween

  22. For me it has to be Michelin.

    I think the problem with Pirelli isn’t so much the tyres its the fact there happy to just do whatever Bernie tell’s them to regardless of anyone else’s opinion on it let alone there own (The drivers have never liked these tyres, I was hearing about complaints in GPDA meetings right from the start of the Pirelli-era).

    Michelin on the other hand will put forward there vision & if they were to get the tender if they felt what they were been asked to do wasn’t the right direction they would say so & push back against it. Look at there proposal already as an example, They have laid out what they want & where they want to go.

    Sadly however I think the whole debate is pointless because whichever is chosen won’t be selected because they had the better vision or the better tyres… Pirelli will get the contract because they offer Bernie a far better commercial deal. There is also the problem that Pirelli’s sponsorship deal goes for longer than there current tyre supply deal so if Michelin were to get the contract we would still get Pirelli logo’s on ad-banners around the track unless they pay a fine to end that deal early (I think it last’s until 2020).

    1. Actually just to add something to the Tyre-deg debate.

      I personally think the whole High-deg era has been a bit of a failure as yes its mixed things up at times & generated a bit of passing…. But in my mind its done so at the expense on proper racing & close, hard fought competition.
      Just like with DRS a lot of the passing that has been generated via the tyres has been too easy with the driver been passed often completely defenseless with has just resulted in less true competition.

      Seeing a driver 2-3+ seconds faster cruising easily past someone on older tyres just isn’t fun to watch for me, Especially when the car been passed can do nothing to defend. There was a debate about this after a GP2 race earlier in the year, May have been Austria but I forget now where the tyres were leading to drivers dropping back like a stone & while yes it generated a lot of passing the question must be asked about if any of that passing was actually all that exciting to watch.

      There is also the element of how much drivers are having to manage them, Its a bit too extreme in my opinion & was of the biggest reasons drivers are as far off the limit as they are in a race & why so many drivers are unhappy about the amount of pace management they do nowadays.

      Again i’ll look at GP2, In the past you had say a 30 lap race where the drivers woudl be pushing for 30 laps & you would get 30 laps of good racing action. Now you don’t get 30 laps of good racing action because drivers are spending a lot of that time managing tyres so all of the action is pushed back to the final few laps as those who’s tyres start to fall off the cliff drop back like a stone (Unable to do anything to stop it).
      The racing just hasn’t been as good for as long as it used to be & GP2 introducing DRS this year seems to have actually made overtaking harder as now the cars are setup/geared for the speed gain using the DRS which has hindered overtaking elsewhere & with GP2 cars running so close you just have lines of cars all using DRS where nobody is doing any overtaking as there all bouncing off the rev-limiter.

  23. I notice quite a dichotomy here. Votes are pro-Michelin but comments are pro-Pirelli.

  24. For me, obviously Michelin. Pirelli tyres are rubbish in my opinion.

  25. I want war in the tires , Michelin would show the way to Pirelli and its false tires, not for nothing Michelin are the WEC (endurance) LMP1 provider.

    1. Bernie say’s they will do what i say,
      so really who cares which tire manufacturer produce the tires,
      the only difference right now is the devil we know than the devil we dont.
      Pirelli have no 2015 F1 car to test their tries on so its mainly guess work, how would Michelin get on.
      V6 turbo engines are wild machines they need all sorts of gadgets/Computer software and twisting rear sections just to control the power going to the tires.

  26. Given Pinellas inability to produce a decent wet weather tyre, I voted Michelin

    1. *Pirelli

      (I hate smartphones)

    2. They ‘ve been denied to produce a decent wet tyre by banning tyre testing on wet as they are desperately asking to do. The same will apply to Michelin as well if they ‘ll became the new tyre supplier because with one more race, the next year ‘ll be even worse in terms of testing time…

  27. I voted no opinion as their philosophies don’t matter that much, only what the FIA wants from the tyre.

    1. Totally wrong, you should have voted “neither”.

  28. i voted No Opinion mainly because my choice is to have multiple manufacturers compete just like the case of engines and the old Bridgestone vs Michellin days. That to me is an interesting variable. It creates a comptetitve scenario between the tire manufacturers and the sports win.

    As far as 13 vs 18 inch. For me the 18 inch looks good. But then that could be purely because “familiarity breeds contempt” scenario where the visual change is appealing. I don’t know what are the technical advantages though.

  29. ColdFly F1 (@)
    16th August 2015, 16:20

    I just had a few beers and decided to let my creative side out. If you don’t like my previous vision, then maybe this works:
    Ask Pirelli/Michelin (who cares which one!) to create a Gobstopper (Jawbreaker) tyre which constantly changes grip levels. It will provide the unpredictable racing and lot’s of errors and overtaking which it seems FIA/FOM is after.

  30. I’d vote for Michelin for 2 reasons, 1.) They are being very clear on their direction, and F1 is in desperate need of some clear direction atm, and 2.) they want tyres that allow drivers to drive on the limit for longer.
    Bottom line is, the name on the tyre is irrelevant, the compounds are what are important. The compounds need to be grippy and durable, but they need to be grippy and durable over a specific distance and have a very clear performance drop off once they reach that distance, and that grip and durability needs to be relative between the compounds. The teams are then free to set-up their cars to use the tyres as hard or as soft as they like, likewise this allows how the driver drives the car to have a direct impact on the tyre life aswell.

    1. But why have an artificial restriction on tyre life.

  31. Either manufacturer would produce tyres that go against their “philosophy” if properly incentivised, but putting their current arguments against each other I’d have to side with Michelin. Putting the degradation issue aside, Michelin’s push for 18 inch wheels is a relatively inexpensive way to make F1 tech more relevant to road cars. Pirelli seem unwilling to innovate, in comparison.

  32. The question regarding the valid tyre for F1 is a right one, although to choose between Pirelli or Michelin is tough or a bit unfair.

    I know Michelin is probably the best manugacturer involved in motorsports right now. But given the right direction from FIA & FOM, Pirelli too can provide proper tyres.

  33. F1 is competiton of the best on the highest level. Because of that we should have Pirelli, Michelin, Goodyear and Bridgestone altogether. Running the same tyre supplier is kind of ridiculus. Who cant stand the heat should not play with the fire.

  34. 19″ wheel and 2-3 stops please.

    Wear but not marbles.

    1. Its not possible to get “wear” without “marbles”.
      The grip of the tyres reduces because pieces of rubber (or marbles) are shed from the tyre. And these marbles have to go somewhere. They can’t just evaporate. Hence, you find marbles away from the racing line.

      1. Just because it’s what happens now @sumedhvidwans doesn’t mean it’s inevitable. After all currently the tyres can shed material going down the straight. They can cold grain, or not. Some of the wear is material transferred to the track. The material can be made more cohesive, or less. The layer can be thicker, or thinner.

  35. Third solution: Goodyear/Dunlop/Falken

  36. Pirelli, because the teams and the directors of sport ask for it! If the ask again for a tyre who can last more, i am sure Pirelli can handle this too successfully , as the current tires !

  37. So far the two arguments I have heard in favor of 18″ wheels are both offshoots of the idea that they more closely resemble current road car wheels (style and technology). To me both these arguments are red herrings. F1 cars are not road cars. They are supposed to be the pinnacle of motor racing. The only considerations for moving to a larger wheel rim should revolve around improving mechanical and aerodynamic performance of F1 cars. To have road car style and technology drive F1 regulations is like having commercial jet liner technology mandated into military jet fighter design. It’s an argument I’ve heard many times on this board with respect to hybrid engines vs V8s, V10s, or V12s but now it seems like people have opposing views on if F1 should be mandated to be the testing ground for road car design and technology.

    1. Road-relevance is the only way to get the big manufacturers interested because they can offset their R&D and marketing against the prospect of acquiring customers through their work in the sport.

      At the end of the day, without the current hybrid engine regulations, we’d be back to the ol’ Ferrari vs Cosworth days as Merc & Renault would have packed up and left (and Honda wouldn’t have rejoined).

  38. Michelin. Make it more interesting for at least a year.

  39. It’s a difficult question to answer in isolation because it’s not clear how other changes will manifest themselves. If they sorted the aero and made following much easier then you wouldn’t need DRS and tyres doing weird things to provide the entertainment, in which case give it to Michelin. Assuming they don’t fix the aero and it continues to be the same as ever Pirelli will probably give the sport more interest, albeit artificially.

    Overall though Pirelli are going to win it because I suspect the attitude of a sole supplier who says “we’ll give you what you ask us to” is much more preferable to a sole supplier who says “we’ll do it only if you let us do X, Y, and Z because that’s what WE want”.

  40. Apex Assassin
    16th August 2015, 19:09

    Well the answer IS NOT Pirelli. That much is PROVEN.

    And before anyone starts regurgitating media-spun and outright Pirelli LIES, do some research. F1/FOM/FIA NEVER asked for crappy tyres that lack grip or dangerous tyres that fail or crappy tyres who’s characteristics change from set to set within the same compound. Listen to the drivers. Especially those who have had F1 experience prior to Pirelli. They all make the same basic comments which is begging for tyres with grip.

    Personally I’d love to see a tyre war return with 2+ manufacturers actually making improvements to their offerings during the season versus on company producing subpar tyres with a “make the best of it” attitude.

  41. Kudos to Michelin for making a clear stance and refusing to move away from their main philosophies to win the contract to provide tyres in F1.

    Kudos also to Pirelli for being prepared to produce tyres that degrade quickly ‘for the good of the show’, regardless on how that may affect the perception of the quality of the road tyres they produce. Marketing-madness or genius move? Who knows – I’d love to see the figures which tell the true story. But I’m sure Pirelli keeps a keen eye on their market data, so that must tell us that their involvement in F1 must be working for them.

    I voted for Michelin for one reason only:

    I want tyres in F1 which are as durable as possible so that our racing drivers can speed around tracks as fast as their driving skills and car performance allow them. Whether this would create a greater need for fuel-saving strategies or not is neither here nor there. For me, the idea that the drivers racing in F1 today may not be pushing themselves to their limits and beyond for full race lengths rips the soul out of this sport.

    As Mario Andretti said, “If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough”.

  42. I have always been a fierce supporter of the degradation doctrine because we should not be surprised when we afford the fastest cars four hours of testing and pole position ahead of the traffic, when that same car comes home to take the win. Racing needs variables to promote variety, and tyre degradation is the most reliable variable on offer – unless Bernie sanctions some sprinklers. Q.E.D. there must be more than one way to win a Grand Prix in order for it to be the “driver’s formula” many of us would like to see.

    Does degradation degrade the show? Certainly, in 2013, it did. The Spanish Grand Prix, with Alonso winning on a four-stop strategy, was symbolic of a step too far for many. However, in actual fact, tyre degradation had become a victim of its own success in 2013. Pirelli had provided a number of enthralling two to three stop contests in 2011, and a simply stunning season in 2012, but in each case, one-stops became a more regular occurrence in the latter half of the season as teams got to grips with the tyres. The softer compounds for 2013 sought to end that cycle, but proved a step too far. Unfortunately Pirelli have apparently chosen anonymity over controversy since the 2013 British Grand Prix.

    Also, was the apparent hardship of not being able to go “flat out” not really more of a complaint from the drivers rather than the fans? Does the sight of an F1 driver conscious of his tyre life truly degrade the visual spectacle for spectators in the stands and watching on TV?

    The 2011 Chinese Grand Prix was the finest dry weather Grand Prix I have ever watched – Pirelli have shown their vision for F1, and up until the issues of 2013, it was delivering exceptional racing. More degrading Pirellis please.

    1. @countrygent
      Yes, Pirelli helped producing more spectacular races in 2011-2012 rather than hurt the show. It’s another matter what happened later.

    2. The 2011 Chinese Grand Prix was the finest dry weather Grand Prix I have ever watched

      An oddly overrated race, and one where the excitement was generated by the different strategies employed rather than by the tyres falling to bits. In that sense it was quite similar to the 2015 Malaysian GP – right down to Vettel’s teammates in both cases staging impressive recovery drives.

    3. Can’t agree with you @countrygent, and yes the visual spectacle is degraded every time a driver decides to follow a slower car 2 seconds back rather than try to pass said slower car.

  43. imagine that Pirelli have a 13 inch tyre that last all the race with the best of the performance, you can imagine that it would be better races more overtaking and so, but that is considering that all cars are mostly the same, for me is quite different if you give Mercedes a tyre that can last all the race there Ferrari has nothing to do, and Force Indias would never reach 5th, i think with a tyre like that in this era the differences between teams would be more dramatic.

  44. I don’t really see what Michelin can bring that Pirelli can’t. If we are tired of the tyres that Pirelli were asked to design, why don’t we just ask them to design the tyres differently?

  45. Which tyre manufacturer has the right vision for F1?


    So…. no tyres? :P

    But in all seriousness, I would love to see a return to Michelin’s philosophy.

  46. I always liked the Michelin rubber for aesthetic reasons. I still believe the Pirelli tyres are responsible for the majority of overtaking in f1. All things considered, ideally the tyres should not be a catalyst for racing. I would introduce tyre freedom in F1, albeit forcing all the interested tyre manufacturers to supply all teams interested. I don’t like 18 inch, but I do understand the commercial aspect- Technologically is ilogic to pick rim sizes rather than the actual rubber. 13 inch looks outdated because f1 cars are 1 meter longer than they were 6 years ago.

  47. They didn’t “save” F1 on the 2000’s why would they do it now?

  48. Tyre war. :D

  49. I would like to see a move to larger rim diameters to promote extra tire life through advanced sidewall design technology.
    Other advantages would be reduced unsprung weight, less opportunity for tire damage on minor wheel contact between cars.
    Cars would probably stay on the track to avoid rim damage on contact with ripple strips or kerbs.

  50. Michelin.

    Because racing happens on TRACK, not in the pits.
    Because 3 (or more) pitstops races are impossible to follow.
    Because tyres that collapses after 5 laps is ridiculous.
    Because drivers must be able to push.

  51. I don’t think so. Unless the aerodynamics can be modified in such a way so that the cars can follow each other closely (which is highly doubtful unless they simplify the front wing) we need two to three pit stops with tyre compounds that have a performance difference of 1.5 to 2 secs to create any kind of decent racing. We’ll be having one stop races the whole season and if you think f1 is boring now, you haven’t seen anything.

  52. Honestly, both have the capability to do whatecer the brief tells them to do. The only thing what really matters in relation to this bid is which company pays more marketing Euro’s to the CVC.

    The duscussion of what type of tyres F1 wants to race on is a philosophycal one. Do we try to improve the racing with fast degrading tyres amd mandating a harder amd softer compound or do we try to improve the racing by letting the drivers go flat out?

    Imho if you give the drivers durable sticky tyres the onus is going to be even more on car/engine performance and earo(dirty air) in relation to (race) pace and overtaking.

    I think laptime difference between fresh and older rubber and the ‘option/prime’ dynamic actually contributes to the racing. It’s just that the tyre management (read driving slowly) takes something away from the racing at the same time.

    My solution would be to retain the ‘option/prime’ dynamic, introduce the free choice of compound and make the tyres last/degrade gradually (where throttle control and vreaking technique still has it’s merit but driving like a bus driver makes no real impact) until a certain point where the drop off is too big to stay out.

    If that’s the brief F1 gives the tyre manufacturer, I’m sure they can fulfill it whether it’s Pirelli, Michelin, Bridgstone or Goodyear for my part.

  53. michelin are saying the right things, but too much performance will not necessarily help with overtaking. massive mechanical grip will reduce braking zones to nothing and limit the risk of error on corner exit. i liked the gordon murray suggestion of having hard compound, skinny tyres which increases slip angle (ie. how much you can get away with driving the car sideways) – the cars would be hard to drive but allow for a bit of sliding which would look great. plus they wouldn’t be pitting every other lap.

    as for aesthetics, who really cares? it’s so subjective anyway.

  54. I like Michelin’s idea of high-performance push every lap tires, but I dislike the low profile tires idea. How many times does it need to be explained to people? F1 is not the real world, nor should it ever strive to be. F1 is an escape from the real world’s trials and tribulations. 13 inch wheels look good on an F1 car and I couldn’t care less if no other car in the world at all uses this size

  55. Voted for Michelin, their tyres technology can be applied to road cars which is not the case of the Pirelli which make them useless – in my opinion – outside F1.

  56. Mostly Pirelli, partly Michelin. I agree with letting the drivers push their cars to the limit for longer, but it seems that Michelin wants F1 to change to the standard of other sports so that it’s easier for them to produce and supply tyres (which makes obvious ‘business‘ sense), rather than what Pirelli do as they’re quite happy to cater to the specific needs of F1. Based on the two statements provided in this article (which may be full or incomplete statements), I doubt the FIA/F1 bods will be pushed around by Michelin’s cost-saving demands, and instead will make an informed decision based on the current needs of the F1 grid.

    1. @chrisken17 It is good business sense, yet I see you citing this as a negative?

      It’s not just good business sense for Michelin, or F1 or any other race series. It’s good business sense for you and I. It means racing tyre technology in its entirety can translate directly to the tyre the consumer will fit to their cars.

      I’m running Michelin Pilot Sport 3’s on my car and they were a positive transformation in every respect. Michelin have possibly the greatest presence in motorsport than any other tyre company. Add to this the extremes of LMP AND F1 and it’s win win!

      It will be very good business indeed to spend my actual money on Michelin tyres.

  57. I voted for Michelin. I agree with those who think that the low degradation tyres phase has run its course and the novelty has worn off – it isn’t adding to the excitement any more and but is rendering the performances of the cars less impressive, especially in the last couple of years now engine management is also critical.

    I feel I also can’t ignore the fact that during the four year period when both Michelin and Pirelli were active in F1 in the early 1980s (1981-84), Michelin won 31 GPs while Pirelli did not win a single race, and Pirelli-shod teams won just three across 1985-86 and 1989-91, as many as Michelin won in 2004 against the Bridgestone-Ferrari juggernaut. Even though a lot of time has passed since, I still think that Michelin would be a fundamentally better tyre supplier for F1 than Pirelli in performance terms.

  58. Neither. It would’ve been Michelin if not 18″ wheels.

  59. The click to reveal button doesn’t work for me on my PC or Mobile? Is this an issue for just me or everyone? I’d really like to read your views. Hope this gets seen and fixed (or just have it replied to me). Thank you.

    1. Thanks for the heads-up – this should be OK now.

      1. Yep works. Brilliant thank you so much!

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