Bernie Ecclestone to decide between Pirelli/Michelin for F1 tyres

Pirelli and Michelin now face a battle to convince Bernie Ecclestone which of them deserves Formula 1's next tyre-supply contract

Bernie Ecclestone to decide between Pirelli/Michelin for F1 tyres

After emerging as the only two manufacturers to submit tenders to the FIA, the two companies then had until July 17 to convince motorsport's world governing body their proposals complied with the technical and safety requirements.

Pirelli has confirmed to AUTOSPORT it has done so, and it is understood Michelin has also won through, so now it falls on commercial rights holder Ecclestone to weigh up the commercial aspects of each bid.

Ecclestone is due to hold discussions over the coming weeks with Paul Hembery and Pascal Couasnon, the motorsport directors of Pirelli and Michelin respectively, before announcing the winner of the 2017-19 deal in September.

Speaking to AUTOSPORT, Hembery said: "Obviously we have a history of 100 years of motorsport, and we've been in Formula 1 for five years.

"That's a basis for a lot of the validation, if you like, from the FIA's point of view.

"We're a known, established, high-quality provider to the motorsport world, and that's really the approval basis.

"In terms of the technical aspects, we've said we'll comply with the requirements of Formula 1.

"If they want to make changes to the regulations then we will give our maximum endeavours to follow them.

"We will follow the rules and comply with the decisions of the teams, promoter and the FIA.

"We obviously have no idea as to what proposals they [Michelin] have made, and what proposals they will make to Bernie. Ultimately it's a commercial decision now.

"The FIA has done its part, which is to qualify the supplier, and now it's down to the commercial rights holder to decide the most appropriate partner for the sport.

"We will, of course, enter into a phase of discussion with the promoter, looking at all aspects of the commercial agreement.

"I'm sure he'll do the same with the other party and then make an informed decision."

Couasnon admitted last month that winning over a sceptical Ecclestone would be the key to success.

Michelin is eager to introduce 18-inch rims into F1, in line with current road cars, and also produce a longer-lasting tyre that would allow drivers to push to the maximum more often during a grand prix.

In May, though, Ecclestone suggested Michelin's return to F1 after being away since 2006 would not be good, suggesting all it would do is "make a rock-hard tyre you could put on in January and take off in December because they don't want to be in a position where they can be criticised".

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