Michelin tyres, Renault, Interlagos, 2006

Michelin confirms it will not enter F1 in 2020

2018 F1 season

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Tyre manufacturer Michelin has confirmed it has turned down the opportunity to return to Formula 1 in 2020.

Last month the FIA invited potential tyre suppliers to submit bids to become the official F1 tyre supplier from 2020 to 2023, as RaceFans revealed. Michelin considered submitting a tender but confirmed on the day of the deadline for entries that it will not make a submission.

“It is well known that Michelin is already engaged in a wide range of world-class motor sports such as MotoGP, WEC, WRC, Formula E and more,” it said in a statement. “This unique and very broad portfolio corresponds to the vision of the Michelin Group: indeed Michelin is competing to innovate for the benefit of its customers and sustainable mobility.

“As far as Formula 1 is concerned, we have received the technical specifications on which the FIA call for tenders has been issued and we have studied it carefully. Michelin’s recommendations for a switch to 18-inch tyres, as in Formula E, have been taken up by the authorities, which we are delighted about.

“However, the demand for the supply of 13-inch tyres for the 2020 season alone, as well as the deterioration of performance as a part of the show, goes against our principles of efficient resource management and respect for the technology of a sustainable tyre.

“Michelin has therefore decided to refrain from any response to this invitation to tender and will continue to follow, in conjunction with its governing bodies, the developments of Formula 1 in the coming years.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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17 comments on “Michelin confirms it will not enter F1 in 2020”

  1. Yeah, that 2020 13inch demand will always be a good way to ensure Pirelli are ahead, isn’t it?

    1. @bosyber Agreed. I get the feeling it was the intention from the start – prioritize Pirelli’s bid.

      1. @toiago not sure that’s what the FIA intended, but as I understand it, Pirelli refused to take an extension of the current contract for a year (ie. 2020) which would have solved this – I am pretty sure they knew the effect of that. But, it is, once again, an example of F1 not managing to operate as an efficient and reasonable/rational entity, always having a hodgepodge of interest peeking through into the racing environment.

    2. @bosyber, the thing is, I would not be surprised if Michelin probably were never going to submit a competitive tender in the first place and are using the whole “13 inch tyres in 2020” as a way of being able to bail out now – after all, they didn’t have problems with developing different diameter tyres in successive years in other series, such as MotoGP (in fact, in the case of MotoGP they actively pushed for that to happen).

      1. I don’t see it as bailing out or them needing to find an excuse to ‘be able’ to bail out. That would imply they were in to begin with, and that was never a given. They initially stated misgivings about having to do 13” tires for one year, and here after thinking about it they’re going to pass. They didn’t even need to give a reason. They could have just said they won’t be submitting a tender to be in F1 in 2020.

  2. Who can blame them? regardless of their views about high degradation 13 inch tyres, no one can comply with manufacturing two different tyre construction and compounds in sucessive years, except Pirelli who’s been building this tyre for a long time. It makes no sense at all for everyone except Pirelli to do 13 inch tyres in their first year, before switching to the 18 inch one.

  3. I guess I have to agree with Michelin. I’m not a big fan of the philosophy that tyres should degredate faster to improve the show. That just adds to unpredictability, which is not exactly what F1 is all about.
    Instead, good wet weather tyres should be produced to make rain races possible again, and other (admittedly) more difficult measures to give midfield teams a better shot should be introduced. I don’t want to go back to drivers complaining about tyres and having to save them all the time. We still have enough of that today.

    1. The wet tyres shift 60+ litres a second. They’re not the problem. It the car’s ride height. With so much water the planks become surf boards.

  4. However, the demand for the supply of 13-inch tyres for the 2020 season alone, as well as the deterioration of performance as a part of the show,

    Does F1 realise how much of a contradictory affair it is?

    Aero regs to make the cars 5 seconds faster yet fit tyres that lose that performance after 3 laps

    Use road relevant engine technology that power rims/alloys that don’t fit on any road car?

    1. Of course they realize the contradiction. This is why they want to rid themselves of the current cars which are from the last years of BE in control. However these are cars designed for high aero downforce, for drs, and for the current awful Pirelli tires. They just need to see their way through this chapter as best they can until they can make real changes with the teams given the right amount of time. The new front wing for next year is an indication that all they can do, and all they want to do for now from the aspect of what is best for the teams, is to make patchwork changes to try to help the show a little for now. No point throwing big changes ala BE era at them in a knee-jerk fashion. That’s exactly what they don’t want to keep doing to the teams.

  5. Awesome, Michelin thinks high-deg tires are stupid. Along with the rest of the real world.

  6. Entirely understandable decision. Why would anyone manufacture 13-inch rims for a single season only to then move to the 18-inch rims for the following season? It’d be a total waste of time and money, LOL. The next tyre supply-contract should just start from the season (2021) when the 18-inch rims are set to be used.

    1. @jerejj In a perfect world, yeah, but uniquely we don’t have a tire maker under contract past 2019, so…there’s the rub(ber)…

    2. I forgot to add ‘want to’ in between anyone and manufacture.

  7. They keep digging and the hole keeps getting deeper.
    Like it or not, under the current program, Pirelli is holding all the cards and can wait till the last minute to dictate terms.
    Yes, they are the best (and pretty much only) supplier positioned to deliver the 13 inch tyres for 2020.
    The fact that they turned it down should be a wake-up call, but I doubt anyone will answer.
    Should be an interesting process. Now where did I see the number for Hoosier.??

  8. Good news they are not capable. Indy 2005 means they should stick to lesser series. Like the road tyres Pirelli are better, p zero trofeo r is far superior to anything Michelin can do.

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