Formula One tire supplier rumors continue
Following the most recent FOTA meeting Williams' Sam Michael had stated that the choice was between Michelin and Cooper Avon. Thursday, Pirelli announced that it plans to make a bid to supply Formula One (F1) by May 9th.
Bernie Ecclestone, who FOTA has charged with identifying and securing a new tire supplier says the F1 teams favor Cooper Avon over Michelin as the Michelin offer will be about three times more expensive for the teams and require the redesign of suspensions and aerodynamic packages to suit the 18 inch wheel size Michelin wants.
Since Pirelli spokesmen have suggested that the Pirelli package would include the same 18 inch wheel fitment as well as monetary compensation for the tire supply, the question is what will Pirelli charge for its services?
An interesting point is that while the teams prefer to have tires for free the tire manufacturers have come to the realization that they can no longer afford to participate in F1 as a marketing function alone.
There is a widening difference of perception between the the FIA and FOTA on one hand and the tire manufacturers and other sponsors on the other regarding the value of F1 in the global marketplace. The turmoil over finding a new tire supplier is a reflection of this perception gap and the economic realities of today.