Formula 1 teams hope to finalise their tyre choice for next season by the Spanish Grand Prix next month, with both Michelin and Cooper Avon interested in supply deals.
As AUTOSPORT revealed last weekend, Cooper Avon has emerged as a surprise late contender to supply tyres for 2010 - with not all outfits happy with the commercial terms currently being offered by Michelin.
Discussions took place between teams and Bernie Ecclestone in Shanghai last week to try and get a deal agreed as soon as possible, because 2011 car designs need to start being worked on soon.
And although no final decision has been taken about the preferred route for next season, several team principals are optimistic that the matter can be resolved in the next few weeks.
Red Bull Racing's Christian Horner told AUTOSPORT: "I think there are two credible options potentially on the table and hopefully in the next few weeks it can be finalised."
When asked whether he favoured the Michelin or Cooper Avon route, Horner said: "I am totally impartial. I think both tyre companies that have been mentioned are more than capable of producing quality tyres and it is important that specification of the tyre, the quantity, the service and all those elements are right for F1. And also the cost implications as well."
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh, who met Ecclestone, said: "I think we are making some progress. We have some options and that is something we have got to work out. I hope it will be sorted by Spain. We will see. At least we look like we are going to have some tyres next year. That is a pretty important one, and we now just have to decide how and where and who they are from."
Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali added: "Of course it is a point of concern for the future of F1 - there is no doubt about that.
"As far as I can say, as you know Michelin has made a proposal that is under evaluation to make sure that it is the best proposal from the technical point of view and the commercial point of view.
"On the other hand I know that there is a possible discussion to have another tyre competitor who can be ready to come for next year, and I think we will know something more, I would say 100 percent, by Barcelona. So by Barcelona the situation of tyres should be almost clear if not defined."