JULY 23, 2015
2017 tyre call put into Ecclestone's hands
The decision about F1's tyre supplier for 2016 has been moved into the hands of Bernie Ecclestone.
On Monday, we reported that both Michelin and Pirelli had satisfied the FIA that they are both technically competent to be considered for the 2017-2019 contract to serve F1 as its future sole supplier.
Incumbent Pirelli is said to be F1 supremo Ecclestone's favourite, but there is also speculation FIA president Jean Todt, a Frenchman, may be keen to see Michelin secure the deal.
"I have no fear of us being pushed out," Pirelli's F1 chief Paul Hembery told the German newspaper Bild early this week.
"We are fighting as we'd be happy to stay," he added.
Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport claims that, now that the two applicants have been green-lighted by the FIA, it is Ecclestone who will take the final decision.
The report said the FIA had confirmed that the commercial rights holder, headed by Ecclestone, will handle the negotiations with Pirelli and Michelin.
The 84-year-old Briton's decision must then be ratified by the World Motor Sport Council at the end of September in Paris.
La Gazzetta dello Sport claims Michelin might be willing to supply its tyres free of charge to the teams, which is something not offered currently by Pirelli.
But Michelin also wants F1 to drop its current 13-inch wheel profile and revert to a more modern configuration of at least 18 inches.
Speaking to Russia's Championat, Pirelli engineer Matteo Braga warned: "You've got to understand that the big teams will be able to adapt more quickly (to a change) than the smaller teams."
For 2016, the final year in Pirelli's current contract, the marque has reportedly been asked to give teams 'free choice' in their selection of two dry compounds for each grand prix.
Braga warned again: "If we choose the tyres, the teams are all on an equal footing, but if everyone chooses their own, the fans will never know if it is the driver or the tyre choice that was the best."
What Pirelli is prepared to change for 2016 is the current predominance of one-stop strategy races.
"At present, for various reasons, one stop races are common," Hembery is quoted by Finland's Turun Sanomat.
"We will sit with the teams and Bernie Ecclestone if there is a willingness for two to three stop races," he promised.
Hembery said more testing would help Pirelli to better hit its targets.
"One (test) car for three days and 500-600 kilometres a day would improve the situation a lot," he said.