F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has rejected rumours that Michelin will replace Pirelli as the sports sole tyre supplier in 2014. The French manufacturer expressed their interest in returning to Formula 1 over the Belgian Grand Prix weekend.
Competition boss Pascal Couasnon admitted to Le Figaro newspaper that Michelin were in talks with the FIA over a potential return and would be open to a either a tyre war or becoming a sole supplier.
Michelin last contested in Formula 1 back in 2006, where they were involved in the famous Bridgestone vs. Michelin tyre war. They took their last F1 race win at the 2006 Japanese Grand Prix thanks to Fernando Alonso and Renault.
FIA president Jean Todt and Ecclestone are said to be on opposing sides, with Todt eager for Michelin to return and Ecclestone fighting to keep Pirelli as the sole supplier.
The 82-year-old told Speed that there is no real interest from the teams on a Michelin return: “FOM and Pirelli have a contract. They [The FIA] are nothing to do with commercial. The FIA’s position is that they are regulators. They regulate all the regulations that have been agreed. Jean is the president of the FIA. If it’s a matter of a vote in the World Council, he has one vote. As it’s not a matter for the World Council, it doesn’t make a lot of difference.
“All the teams who have spoken to me say they are very happy with Pirelli, and the problems they’ve had, they’re happy that they’ve dealt with them.”
Ecclestone’s views on a tyre war remain unchanged. He is opposed to a return to the situation that saw Bridgestone focus most of its resources on Ferrari in the early 2000′s: “They will want to pick the teams that they think will win, and they’ll pay them a lot more money to take them as opposed to somebody else. We have a deal with Pirelli, anyway.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic