Michelin unwilling to make tyres that “destroy themselves” for F1

2025 F1 season

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Michelin says it is not interested in applying to tender to be Formula 1’s future tyre supplier due to the FIA’s desire for tyres that degrade in a way “that affect the sporting spectacle.”

Michelin’s CEO Florent Menegaux said the company, which last supplied tyres to F1 in 2006, remains interested in the sport. But the manufacturer is not in agreement with the world championship’s vision for the type of tyres it should use.

Last month the FIA opened the tendering process to supply F1 tyres from 2025 to 2027. Pirelli holds the current contract and has been F1’s exclusive tyre supplier since replacing Bridgestone in 2011.

The FIA tender specifies various criteria the next supplier must meet. It describes “improvement of the show” as the top priority target over drivability, performance and operating conditions.

Menegaux says Michelin does not agree that the best way to produce competitive racing is through tyres which are designed to degrade. “We have been discussing with them for a very long time — and we are not in agreement,” he told The Drive.

“Because they say to have the show, you have to have tyres that destroy themselves. And I think we don’t know how to do this. So, we cannot agree.”

Menegaux said Michelin believe racing is better when drivers are encouraged to push flat-out. “Teams should be understanding tyre performance and capitalising on the fact that the tyre is going to be performing from the first lap around the circuit to the last,” he said.

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Although “the drivers will tell you they want to be at their maximum all the time”, Menegaux said that those same drivers will say “it’s not possible” to drive like that in the current era of high-degradation tyres.

Menegaux does not see brand value for Michelin if they were to “improve the show” in F1 due to already being “one of the best-known brands in the world”. He said Michelin’s motivation to be involved in motorsport is “because it’s the best way to very quickly live test new technology”.

Interested manufacturers have until May 15 the submit their documentation, at a cost of €75,000 (£66,000). The FIA will inform the Formula One Group of their chosen provider a month later.

Pirelli has confirmed it is evaluating the FIA’s tender documentation, and no other tyre manufacturer have yet to publicly comment on if they intend to apply.

Hankook, one of the world’s biggest tyre manufacturers and the new supplier to Formula E, is currently in a fight against time to provide tyres for racing series across the world following a major fire at their Daejeon factory in South Korea last month. That destroyed a significant amount of stock and led to tyre production being halted. FE was one of its fortunate customers which had already shipped out many of their tyres for the season.

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Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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66 comments on “Michelin unwilling to make tyres that “destroy themselves” for F1”

  1. I applaud this stance

    1. @Maciek Agreed. They don’t have to stop for fuel anymore so why stop for tyres? I can live with that.

    2. Agree, just wish they would implement their position on their road tires so Pilot Super Sports don’t start developing cuts in the tread block if they are exposed to even the slightest amount of minus weather…….Hmm, perhaps they should get into F1 they have practical proven ways to cause tires to fail developed on their regular tires.

    3. @maciek Though maybe they could offer to produce the wet weather tyres. They don’t need to degrade and Pirelli seem incapable of producing a decent intermediate or wet tyre that doesn’t generate vast amounts of spray, making wet weather racing now a virtual impossibility.

      1. Michelin makes a Rain Tyre for Moto-GP bikes and the riders seem to relly like it.
        One commented he could almost drag an elbow in the last rain event.
        Certainly someone is doing something right.

        1. Well, pirelli looked like the best tyre supplier since the 2000s at least (wasn’t watching enough before then), so not surprised.

        2. Sorry, meant michelin looked like the best.

          1. Bib is gonna git ya for that slip.

    4. Kinda refreshing to see the stance

  2. So Pirelli confirmed as they seem to be the only company willing to accept this ludacrous show over sport agenda.

    It still boggles my mind that the pinnacle of the sport has for over a decade now been running on the worst racing tyres in the whole of motor racing.

    Tyres designed to fall to pieces for the show with performance been seen as secondary have no place in F1 unless it wants to accept that it should no longer consider itself the pinnacle of the sport!

    1. PeterG, mind you, Michelin has also pushed other racing series to make changes for non-technical reasons.

      When Formula Renault 3.5 switched over to 18 inch tyres, Michelin themselves talked about how one of the most important reasons for that change was not the performance of the tyres, but rather their aesthetics – i.e. wanting something that better matched the public image they wanted to project.

      When Michelin last submitted a formula bid to become a supplier for Formula 1 in 2017, they also included a similar requirement that, to fit with their advertising requirements, the sport would be required to change to 18 inch tyres.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        20th April 2023, 12:01

        That makes perfect sense.. I can easily understand why Michelin would want good looking tyres that perform well because that reflects well on their brand.

        I’ve never been able to understand what Pirelli are expecting to get out of their involvement in F1. No-one has a better opinion of Pirelli than they did before they got involved with the sport because all they have done for the entire contract is demonstrate that as a company, they are absolutely awful and making tyres. They’ll need replacing quickly, they’ll randomly explode if you’re on the motorway and god help you if it rains! No thanks.

        1. @petebaldwin there were questions about whether what Michelin was proposing was necessarily an improvement on a technical level, given that Michelin blocked individuals outside of Formula Renault 3.5 carrying out any sort of meaningful comparative testing between the standard tyres and the new 18 inch tyres.

          It’s not necessarily about “tyres that look good”, but rather, as Patrick notes below, about wanting to promote a particular mentality and public image about the tyres they sell. As he notes, it is a market sector that is particularly profitable for manufacturers – I recall seeing a report that the profit margins are around three times greater in that sector than for tyres with a higher sidewall – and it is a market sector that is growing fairly strongly.

          Michelin did admit that, in the past, they were a bit slow to move into that sector due to a heavier focus on tyres for industrial applications, so it is a market they are now chasing more aggressively and one that they are prepared to pour more advertising money into in order to make you link low profile with high performance.

      2. Given 18 inch tyres are a lot more expensive than 15 inch tyres, I’m not exactly surprised Michelin wants to advertise big rims and big wheels as much as possible (even though bigger rims have numerous disadvantages: more weight, more air flow disruption, more likely to get damaged by curbs…)

  3. Michelin’s tyres made properly are exactly what F1 needs. Or what about Goodyear, who have been selling “Eagle F1” tyres for the 25 years since they stopped supplying F1?
    But I fear exploding factories will impress the decision-makers in Hollywood or Vegas or wherever.

    1. @Bullfrog Imagine what would happen if Pirelli decided not to tender for the new tyre deal. That would leave F1 in a real pickle.

      1. Not really it wouldn’t. If nobody was interested in the current tender they’d just make a new tender with more preferable terms for manufacturers and go from there.

        There’s no point of no return here. Someone is going to bite and if they don’t, they have several years left to get someone.

  4. Because they say to have the show, you have to have tyres that destroy themselves

    I like this roast, it highlights the current state of F1.

    1. It highlights that someone at Michelin hasn’t been following Formula 1 in the past decade.

      1. Coventry Climax
        19th April 2023, 22:30

        That’s a ridiculous remark and you know it. All (tyre) companies keep an eye on markets, existing and potential. All of them weigh whether it’s the right choice for them to try and gain access or expand on it if they’re already in there.

        1. When someone brings up the “tyres that destroy themselves” talking point from a decade ago, I can only assume that they’ve not bothered following the sport they’re supposedly mulling to supply products to or are just doing their usual poopposting that is their MO for the past number of tender rounds.

          1. They literally talked about current drivers not being able to push. Which is true. Kudos Michelin for paying attention to a category they don’t even supply

    2. you have to have tyres that destroy themselves. And I think we don’t know how to do this.

      This made me laugh.

  5. Good on Michelin. Being a tire supplier for F1 when drivers, teams and TV announcers bad mouth your tire degradation when it is actually to be designed into the tire on purpose for fake drama is just beyond warped……..but it does illustrate the poor state of F1’s bizarre thinking! Once the Drive to Survive interest has disappeared Liberty and the FIA will see how much their “sport” is in a state of disrepair.

  6. Good for them. It would be nice to see what the current tech in tires actually is. Would love to see races done without pitstops and real as opposed to contrived strategy once again.

  7. If F1 really wanted to go “green” then getting rid of high-deg tires would be the first obvious step.

    1. Absolutely. The use of three sets of tyres for a 305 kilometer race is just straight up ridiculous, especially when the argument for this concept – that of getting top performance – never happens because everyone spends the entire race nursing the tyres anyway because that’s better than making three or four stops.

  8. Sergey Martyn
    19th April 2023, 19:47

    Thank you Michelin!

    I just can’t understand why, during this green agenda plague, when every drop of high-octane fuel counts as a wooden stake piercing the heart of Greta Tunberg, no one cares about the 40,000 tyres that Pirelli supplies to the F1 grid a year, which are built specifically to degrade as quickly as possible, and the mandatory tyre change during the race is prescribed in the rulebooks.
    And that stupid excuse for improving the show… – how many times a season do we see pilots “managing tyres”, i.e. killing the show.
    Simple logic – why should I buy tyres for my car from a manufacturer which can’t build the tyres that last just 20-30 laps?

  9. I like the attitude.
    “We don’t want to make rubbish tyres”

  10. Aren’t Michelin lovely? Perfectly happy to pretend they are in a position to dictate to Formula 1 how to put on races, while knowing full well the terms of the contract they’re supposedly bidding on.

    1. Coventry Climax
      19th April 2023, 22:36

      Cut the cr a p, man. They’re in the position, and rightfully so, to decide for themselves. Yes they know what the FIA asks. No they don’t dictate the FIA on how to run things. Yes they have the right to explain when asked. No there’s no pretense here anywhere.

      1. This is the same charade every time the F1 tyre contract comes up. Why give this company any publicity?

        1. Why give this company any publicity?

          Because they’re participating in a public discussion about tyres in F1, that the series itself started by saying they would consider alternative tyre suppliers and regulations at some date (probably 2026?).
          Because Michelin is Europe’s biggest tyre manufacturer.
          Because many so-called premier and prestige car manufacturers put Michelins on their high performance vehicles.
          Because Michelin tyres are usually either the, or among the, best in every day tyre reviews.
          Because Michelin is the go-to tyre supplier in pretty much every racing series they participate in.
          Because F1 drivers who move to the WEC can’t stop raving about the joy of pushing for an entire stint on the Michelin tyres.

          Pirelli has been trying for 10 years to make compounds for F1 that offer different strategies. They’ve never been able to do this. The hard tyres are too slow and too cold and barely last longer than the mediums, and the soft tyres can’t be pushed and so aren’t fast enough to make up for a potential extra stop. The result being that everyone uses the softest tyres their car can handle, and just nurses those throughout the race. And the wet tyres are so bad that the series has all but stopped racing in the wet.

          1. Because many so-called premier and prestige car manufacturers put Michelins on their high performance vehicles.

            Do you know how OEM deals work?

            Companies make tyres to a spec set by the OEM and sign a commercial agreement.

            Remind you of anything?

          2. MichaelN, you do have to temper the praise with the fact that Michelin also has exclusive monopoly rights on tyre supplies within the WEC, and the ACO is also fairly heavily dependent on Michelin providing sponsorship for the WEC and the other motorsport series that the ACO also administers.

    2. @proesterchen the point is they’re not bidding. Currently no one is. If Pirelli doesn’t bid then F1 will be forced to drop the farce.

    3. ….while knowing full well the terms of the contract they’re supposedly bidding on.

      Um, no, they’re saying they’re not interested in bidding; they fully understand the terms and want none of it.

      1. Michelin love the exposure they get every couple of years for telling everyone bored enough to listen how they’re not interested in Formula 1.

        1. It would seem that they are not interested. The FIA must have approached them, along with a number of other manufacturers. It will be interesting to see if any others do go through the process.
          Would I buy Pirelli tyres today or tomorrow ? … not likely, but let me check my calendar.

        2. Coventry Climax
          20th April 2023, 14:13

          What’s your issue with Michelin, buddy? They’re not telling anyone anything, they were asked – and provided their point of view. Apparently, that hasn’t changed over the years. Which is commendable, as far as I’m concerned, apart from whether or not you agree with their views.
          I have an issue with Pirelli, I can tell you. “Can you make crap tyres for us?” “Ofcourse we can, we’ll even make them more crap then you ever imagined!”
          Now to me, that’s an attitude that expresses selling yourself for a bit of exposure.

          1. Michelin’s past behaviour shows they are not people you’d want to work with, much less invite into a partnership. (2005, 2010, 2016, 2019, and now 2023)

            So they can toil with the weak series that are foolish enough to have them while sending their usual ‘well, we didn’t love you, anyway’ comments about Formula 1.

            Ironically, those comments every couple of years probably earn them more exposure than all their actual motorsports activities combined.

  11. Alex Thompson
    19th April 2023, 20:20

    I think having tyres which don’t degrade and last a full race distance would suck!

    Pit stops and degrading tyres add to the show big time at what would otherwise be dull as hell races.

    Am I the only one that feels like this?

    1. Coventry Climax
      20th April 2023, 14:15


      If you like show so much, go to Broadway.

    2. Maybe not, but I’d love to see drivers being able to push without having to worry about their tyres dropping off after a few laps. If it’s purely for the show, make everybody do a pit stop where they take the tyres off and put the same tyres back on again. The (unnecessary!) waste of so much rubber for the show is then adressed, and drivers can go back to racing full throttle.

    3. I think having tyres which don’t degrade and last a full race distance would suck!

      That’s still only 305 kilometers. Tyres in F1 are a spec part. They’re something everyone is forced to run, and they have a huge effect on setup and the competitive order. That’s not the role of a spec part. A proper spec part is as inconspicuous as possible. It allows the teams to differentiate themselves in areas they can control.

      A tyre that is sufficiently durable that it can be pushed throughout the race puts the onus back on the drivers and teams to perform at their best, not at the limit the tyre can handle.

      1. Last time we had tires that lasted the entire race didn’t show that. It just showed it made for more boring races.

        1. Coventry Climax
          21st April 2023, 22:50

          Peter, define ‘last time’ please.

  12. The real question for me is: “now that we have a new set of aero regs, how relevant are the 2011 gimmicks?” Unfortunately – quite. I’d love for us to drop DRS and have 3 sets of tyres for the weekend: the qualifier, the one stop and the non stop. But was Australia a good Grand Prix all things considered? I don’t think so. Perhaps a strategy curveball would make it more entertaining but I think most teams if we removed DRS most teams would run the non stop. I don’t want that. I’ve always wanted a Jerez 1986 style GP season – we must have the tech to build a fast enough tyre that last half the race that can allow overtakes. But, in essence, that too is a gimmick. I think we should be careful what we wish for – Pirelli are doing a fine job for what’s asked of them and, deep down, it’s what the sport needs.

    1. Coventry Climax
      19th April 2023, 22:45

      You’re allowed your ‘real question’, and I’ve got mine: “Do we want a sport or a fake jury show?”
      For the rest of what you say, you seem -to me- to connect dots that have no relation to eachother.

      1. I want a sport but I accept that when we let the sport loose we ended up with processional racing with limited overtaking. That was fine in the mid 2000s and I loved it but the aero is simply too complex now as the cars are too heavy. The racing of the past few years with DRS, KERS and Pirelli has still been close and impressive so I accept these gimmicks. But I’d like to pull them back. For example Monaco shouldn’t need the same number of DRS zones as Shanghai.

        Which dots don’t connect? – it’s exceptionally difficult to cover the entire history of the sport’s merits, issues and solutions in a paragraph.

        1. Coventry Climax
          22nd April 2023, 0:02

          If you let the sport loose, as you call it, then there’s no Formula: That word inherently means there’s a given set of rules that the cars (and drivers) must comply with.
          It is the way the FIA goes about this set of rules that’s messing things up. For one, and that’s been the main talk lately, they listen very much to the commercial stakeholder, which is currently resulting in the show over sports balance tipping over the -to my opinion- wrong way.
          There’s many, many more ways to define rules then how the FIA goes about it. (And word them correctly and not open for discussion, by the way. No, we don’t need lawyers for that, as some claim. To me, that would even be counter productive, and you need only look at the legislative system to see that won’t help.)

          F1 is, and has always been, a twofold championship: one for drivers, one for teams. I see the teams part fading quickly.
          Processional racing is the result of a failing rule set, nothing else. I think we may agree on that.
          But I say there is no need for gimmicks if the ruleset is right. Plus, even DRS itself wouldn’t be a gimmick, if the drivers were allowed to use it anywhere, anytime, instead of it’s use being restricted. It’s the ruleset around it that turns it into a gimmick, as opposed to being one more driver tool.
          Ruleset and FIA: Let’s face it, it’s ridiculous they’re still unclear about track limits. No other sports argue about what’s in or out, that has been resolved ages ago.

          ‘The racing of the past few years with DRS, KERS and Pirelli has still been close and impressive’

          I completely disagree with you on this. To me, racing has been very, very underwhelming. So likely, we have a mismatch in our definitions of ‘racing’.
          To most people, it’s ‘Who gets to the finish first’, like in ‘I’ll race you to it’. That explains why there’s snail ‘races’.
          To me, and others, there’s a lot more involved: Engineering, all and any type of driver skills and so much more.
          But even if your claim would be true, racing might also very well have been exciting under a different ruleset, with, say, no gimmicks, or totally different gimmicks, who knows? Yet you use that to say F1 needs the gimmicks they now have. That’s where I say you connect dots that have no relation to one another. This is just an example, you use that type of reasoning more, in what you say.

  13. Has having drivers spend all the race managing their tyres produced better racing/entertainment at all. For me the answer is no and as such the stupid degrading tyres should go.

    1. We have not had tyres with a performance cliff for the past decade. It’s a moot point.

      1. Now did we? Even the grooved Michelins or Bridgestones of the past decade? Who’s mooting now?

        1. You may want to check your calendar, Pirelli has been the sole supplier to Formula 1 for well over a decade at this point.

          Grooved Bridgestones? Last seen 15 years ago.

          Michelin? Only ever participated in Formula from 2001 through 2006, roughly 2 decades ago.

          1. Derek Edwards
            20th April 2023, 22:08

            I must have imagined the early 80s.

  14. Good for them.

  15. And that is why 3 of the last 4 sets of tires i have bought have been Michelin.
    Pirelli has never been even considered, because if they are making cr*p for F1, cr*p for WRC, why should i ever want associate myself with cr*p? I am voting with my money.

  16. The FIA is the customer here, and for better or not they want tyres that degrade. Pirelli produce what their customer wants. I don’t understand this animus towards them. Well, ok, I do understand, in which case someone other than pirelli produces what the FIA demands of tender applicants. We should be berating the FIA for demanding these specs for tyres in F1.

    1. Coventry Climax
      20th April 2023, 14:24

      Partly true. If I ask you to kill something/some animal/someone, will you say yes or no? If you answer yes, am I the only one to blame for the crime? Do you hide behind what I asked? Claim how well you’ve done the task?

      In the Pirelli case, they’ve not even managed to meet the request, with unexpected tyre blowups and all. They were -and still are- allowed to do their own ‘investigations’ and surprise surprise, have never found themselves to be at fault.

  17. I think the rules of the current FIA tender are not what most people want to see. I think there is an argument for having different compounds of tyre and the teams having to choose the best for the race. Maybe having to use more than one compound but both should be designed to allow drivers to be able to push as much as they like bearing in mind they have to use more than compound. So the current rules but tweaked a little.

    The alternative is more than one supplier I think. Something needs to change though.

  18. So we are stuck with tyres that Bernie wanted at the time… and still have, fast degrading ‘show’ tyres. One only has to look at WEC, drivers can push from start to finish. Isn’t that what racing is about? Instead of coasting and managing tyres.

    Ofcourse Michelin rightfully states we are not interested in making show tyres for F1.

    Maybe Continental can supply their tender for the so-called Pinnacle of Motorsport. #premium

    FiA, Liberty all #FAIL

    1. Nobody else has been interested in F1 since they went down this road. If Pirelli hadn’t come in to ‘sponsor’ F1, they’d have been forced to buy the tyres that no manufacturer would willingly make and put their name on.

  19. Anyone has a list of all the sports Michelin competes in?
    Would be curious to see a full list of which tire manufacturers are involved in which categories.

    1. https://www.michelinmotorsport.com/en/motorsport/

      Michelin lovemaking tyres for series with little to no public exposure. Solid revenue streams, one supposes.

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