MAY 9, 2010
F1 tyres: experience is best
Talks about Formula 1 tyre supply for 2011 are ongoing with the possibility emerging in Barcelona that current supplier Bridgestone may be persuaded to rethink its withdrawal at the end of this season. It also seems unlikely that a mooted move to 18" diameter tyres will be delayed.
It is understood that representations from Avon Cooper, Michelin and Pirelli have been made to FOTA (the Formula One Teams Association) and that with time at a premium given 2011 design considerations, a decision may be reached shortly after next week's Monaco Grand Prix. Initially teams had wanted a decision by this weekend's Spanish race.
FOTA'S Martin Whitmarsh said: "I think Bridgestone has done a great job and if we could convince them to remain in the sport that would be very strong. There are others and we have to be careful not to take too big a risk with newcomers. People who know about F1 represent less risk, so if we can convince experienced operators to be in F1, that's good."
FIA president Jean Todt did not rule out a return to tyre competition in the sport's top category when he spoke on the subject in Bahrain, but Whitmarsh added in Spain: "We like competition in all forms but we have to be mindful of controlling costs. The last time we had tyre competition in F1 it was very expensive and many of the teams aren't fit for that level of competition at the moment."
On the subject of the change to 18 inch rims, Ross Brawn added: "As chairman of the technical regulations working group we've had a lot of discussion about that, and I think we would like to see a phasing of the larger wheel. We understand that the tyre companies are keen on it because it brings a better efficiency of tyre.
"We'd welcome that but it's just a question of phasing it in. It's very late at the moment (for 2011) and I think it would give a lot of the teams severe challenges and problems to get ready in time. It's not just having a bigger wheel, an 18 inch tyre behaves differently and you would need to develop the suspension systems and all the other things. I think all those involved in considering the tyre supply understand that and it's unlikely that we'll have a larger diameter wheel next year."
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