French tyre company Michelin took the initiative today and published a list of proposals which the company said would control speed and increase safety in Formula One, while drastically cutting costs for the teams and improving the racing spectacles.
"Following today's announcement by the FIA that the Formula One Technical Working Group has been asked to propose measures to reduce the performance of F1 cars, Michelin offers a number of proposals," a statement by the team said.
"Michelin feels that its proposals are very much in line with the FIA's main objectives for the future. These objectives are to control performances by reducing cornering speeds for reasons of safety, to offer a very substantial reduction in costs through the virtual elimination of tyre testing, and to improve the racing spectacle without introducing artificial rules."
The proposals made by Michelin are:
the use of one set of tyres for qualifying and the entire race;
between four sets and two sets of dry tyres to be available for each driver per weekend, available in one or two types;
supply of same specification prime and same specification option for all teams;
six sets per team for each test day (with a recommendation for a drastic reduction in testing during the F1 season, to be decided by either the Team Principals or the FIA);
Michelin said it consulted with its partner teams over these proposals, and stated the changes could be introduced from as early as 2005.
"We believe that the FIA's objectives can be met by implementing these proposals," said Michelin Competition Director, Pierre Dupasquier. "Firstly, to be able to provide tyres that last much longer, we will be obliged to use much harder compounds, which in turn will be less 'grippy', thus reducing speeds.
"Secondly, to seriously reduce costs, testing must be limited. This can be complemented by providing fewer tyres, so the amount of testing would be further reduced. I'm sure there can be a saving in teams' operational costs of over 50%. And finally, these 'hard' tyres will leave less rubber on the track, making the 'dirty' line a thing of the past and therefore encouraging overtaking, something everybody around F1 wants."
Michelin Group Chairman and CEO, Edouard Michelin added: "Our proposals offer a triple benefit - an increase in safety, a reduction in costs and an improvement to the racing spectacle, particularly by having more overtaking. These proposals therefore both respond positively to the wishes of the FIA and also allow teams the freedom to choose their tyre supplier; a freedom that is at the very heart of the companies involved in Formula One.
"Michelin is therefore happy to continue to work with its partners and the F1 Technical Working Group in order to find the best way forward."
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