French tyre makers Michelin are not interested in becoming the sole tyre supplier for Formula One, while their Japanese rivals Bridgestone wish to remain in the sport no matter the circumstances - the company heads told Atlas F1.
FIA president Max Mosley has met with the Formula One team representatives yesterday at Monaco to discuss a list of radical changes to the sport, including the introduction of one tyre supplier that will be contracted by the FIA.
"There was complete agreement for the need of a single tyre supplier," Mosley told the press after the meeting. "If we had a single tyre supplier it would be far less expensive, because of testing, it would be fairer, because everybody would be on the same basis, and there would also be a very important safety aspect in that with a single tyre we would be able to control the degree of grip and therefore preventing excessive cornering speeds."
"We don't like this idea at all," Michelin's sporting director Pierre Dupasquier told Atlas F1. "Every time we entered officially into racing, it was with a partner - and in order to try, along with him, to help him be better than the opposition. The opposition included one of our [tyre] competitors. So in that aspect, being the sole tyre supplier, will not help in any way any of our partners, since everybody will have the same tyres.
"In addition, our intention is to find out - and possibly to prove - that we are doing a better job than the other guys in the [tyre] industry. So in those conditions [of being the sole supplier] it will not be possible for us any more."
Dupasquier also said the technical challenge of becoming the single tyre supplier will become limited.
"Max [Mosley]'s idea is that with one tyre supplier they can sit down with this supplier and say, 'sorry, you're going too fast'. And that supplier will say 'oh sorry, what do you need? Two seconds less? OK, I'll do it for you.' Easy! And then he can, through directions given to the tyre supplier, monitor and manage the level of competition."
In contrast, Bridgestone's technical director Hirohide Hamashima told Atlas F1 his company is commited to staying in Formula One.
"Bridgestone's philosophy is that we welcome competition and the technical and marketing benefits from it," he commented. "Having said that, we would like to continue with our Formula One activity. We want to stay here."
Bridgestone have entered Formula One in 1997 and initially competed against Goodyear, until the latter pulled out of the sport at the end of 1998. The Japanese tyre maker was the sole supplier to the F1 teams until Michelin's return to the sport, in 2001.
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