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Michelin stands firm on F1 tyre offer

Michelin logoMichelin says the ball is now very much in the teams' court about the tyre choice for next season, with the French company making it clear it is not willing to win the Formula 1 contract at all costs.

Nick Shorrock, Michelin's competition director, met with team principals for a 90-minute meeting in Turkey on Sunday to outline his company's position over a possible return to F1.

Although there had been suggestions Michelin was ready to offer a cheaper deal or improve the terms of its deal, Shorrock insists that his company is standing firm on its ambitions - and his decision to travel to Istanbul was to make sure the teams understood what his company's motivation was.

"There was no intention to change anything," said Shorrock, speaking in the paddock shortly after the meeting finished. "The objective of this morning was simply to make sure that the teams had fully understood the details of our offer.

"That is as it has always been - in line with what the company sees as the future of competition, and within the values that the company wants to respect which is essentially of open-competition, which is being able to demonstrate the technical capability of our product and also that there is a respect for the environment."

Shorrock said he had not gained any hint of whether his talk with the teams had put Michelin back in the frame, with outfits having closed in on a deal with rival supplier Pirelli earlier this week.

"I don't know," said Shorrock when asked what he thought the teams would do. "I am sure the teams listened, they asked questions and we have tried to clarify as much as possible any doubts that they had."

He added: "We will see. We are still open to the discussions if that is what they wish."

Several team insiders have suggested that there is a strong feeling in the paddock that Michelin would be the better option on pure technical terms, because it has most recent knowledge of F1. However, Pirelli's attitude and commercial package have put the Italian company in pole position for the deal.

When asked by AUTOSPORT if he was frustrated that the matter could be decided by money issues, Shorrock said: "It is not a frustration. It is something that we aware of. If we come back to the basis of why we would consider returning to F1, it is very much linked not just with the Michelin competition division, but the group overall. It is about our values, of linking that to the technical element - which is our tyre and our base product. And this link with the positive evolution of the environment.

"We have made a proposal, which we believe is reasonable and is not exaggerated. It is up to the teams to decide which way they want to go."

F1 team bosses have said they expect the matter to be sorted out in the next few days.

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