Pirelli baffled by Michelin's demands

Pirelli says it has no intention of laying down any conditions for it to secure a fresh Formula 1 tyre contract, despite rival Michelin's demand for a switch to 18-inch wheels.

The Italian tyre manufacturer is going head-to-head with Michelin to win the tyre contract that opens up for 2017.

But although Michelin told Motorsport.com earlier this week it would only accept the deal if F1 agreed to move to 18-inch wheels, Pirelli says that it is focused only on doing what the sport wants.

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said: "I have no interest in their proposal. We are following the rules and we are following what the sport has asked us to do.

"The sport has asked us to do a certain job as a supplier and partner to the sport.

"We do what they want us to do. It is very simple so that is what we will do."

Stick to the rules

Hembery said that he was baffled as to why Michelin had added conditions to its bid, especially as the current rules state 13-inch wheels.

"The rules say it is the current size, and in 2017 there is a move for a 420mm width," he explained.

"It would be like an engine manufacturer turning up and saying they will only come in if they can have a 2.4-litre V8. The rules say it is a 1.6-litre turbo.

"So I don't know. The rules are as they are today, the impression is that after the last strategy group they would go to a 420mm wide tyre.

"We can only supply what the rules say we should supply."

Not convinced on new size

Hembery believes that F1 would be better served sticking to 13 inches, especially with the push for 420mm wide tyres from 2017.

When asked if Pirelli would accept 18-inch wheels if the teams asked for it, he said: "Why would you do that? You go rallying on 18-inch with Fiestas.

"I think if the sport wants to make a change because it wants to be more relevant or dramatic then you would go for a minimum of 20-inch.

"As it is, they are going to a 420mm wide tyre – which is equally not very normal in motorsport.

"It would make it quite differentiated from every other level. I don't know why everyone seems to be fixated on the 18-inch. It is nothing particularly interesting. It is what we do on Fiestas."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Article type Breaking news
Tags michelin, pirelli