F1 teams braced for Pirelli axe and switch to new tyre supplier for 2014

End of the line for Pirelli in F1?

End of the line for Pirelli in F1?

Formula 1 teams are braced for the shock of an all-new tyre supplier for the 2014 F1 World Championship season.

That was the admission on Wednesday of McLaren‘s managing director Jonathan Neale, even though he said the British team is “assuming” that Pirelli will get an eleventh-hour extension to its contract.

He did, however, admit that assumption actually has little foundation.

“If we were to get a late change from somebody else coming into the sport at short notice,” Neale told a Vodafone teleconference, “of course we would work around that and work with whoever the FIA [choose].”

It has been rumoured that, should the Jean Todt-led FIA launch a surprise tender process for 2014, Michelin might enter the rush to return to the grid.

Pirelli F1 tyre technicians at work

Pirelli F1 tyre technicians at work

Neale admitted that, with the 2014 cars being designed around the basic data of the Pirelli tyre, a last-minute change of supplier would be a spanner in the works.

“But it would be the same for everybody,” he added. “So if somebody throws in a curveball at the last minute we’ll all have to recover but there’ll be some winners and losers in that.”

Meanwhile, Neale applauded Pirelli’s reaction to the tyre-exploding crisis of the British Grand Prix, but said there is some concern about this weekend’s high-speed circuit at Spa-Francorchamps.

Pirelli is supplying the hardest tyres in its range to teams in Belgium.

“I think for this weekend all the teams will be reasonably alert [because] we … high-load at Spa,” said Neale.

“Pirelli are being rightly cautious about making sure that the teams operate within certain restrictive windows on tyre pressures and cambers etc and we’re supportive of that process,” he added.

Subbed by AJN.

  • Hawk

    I visited a certain circuit last week where Michelin was testing. And had been the whole of that week. That circuit has already been driven this year.

  • =El Presidente=

    that would be a shameless action again by the FIA..

    Jean Todt with his Michelin connections.. Renault being French.. I think it is hard to see through it.

  • =El Presidente=

    @Hawk. Why dont you enlighten us?

  • Butterfly

    Hawk:

    Was there an F1 car involved?

  • McLarenfan

    Jean Todt trying to save the French economy on his own I thought there were votes involved next it will be OK for Michelin to change the tyre and rim sizes. Last time the supplyer of tyres was up Jean Todt tried to force the Michelin bid through I do wonder about him being the top man I think he has passed his sell by date and that was before he took over.

  • F1

    @Hawk

    Was it a Mercedes F1 car by any chance? Perhaps this years model?

  • grimreaper

    Michelin have stated that they will come back only if the wheels are at least 18” in diameter, to make the tyres relevant to develop.

  • jeff

    Bring back The Bridgestones. Love to see Michael back in RED.

  • McLarenfan

    @grimreaper: 18in rims and a slim coat of rubber would screw the suspension on all the cars they would have to make suspension travel. That would be a complete redesign on every car the teams would go nuts.

  • Mercedes supporter forever

    Good… I want to see Pirelli out of F1.. And Mercedes should bring Michael back..

  • HIBBIE

    I wish Pirelli was out but don’t want the frogs back either.
    Bridgestone BABY

  • Loln

    Just going to point out Michelin is the “Official Tyre Supplier of the FIA”. Look it up.

    Also, Pirelli have sucked since day 1 and have been little more than a huge distraction and detraction to what I watch F1 for: high performance racing. Seeing them leave or being forced to improve would be welcome!

  • Torque

    I’d love to see Pirsmelli leave F1, only because of their refusal to have a second tire supplier. I want a tire war please FIA, if Michelin is coming back to do the same thing as Pirsmelli has been asked to do then there’s no difference to me. Webber got it right in saying that ‘what we have now is not F1′. Michelin is still more likely to agree to a tire war in the future so I’d still want them instead. Bring back refueling too while your at it!

  • F

    Goodyear Eagle F1 ftw

  • Hawk

    They had as many as 3 cars which to me looked like GP2 cars. They were in the blue and yellow of Michelin. I am not sure if it was an earlier version of the F1 car but certainly not 2012/3 F1 spec.

  • March_of_the_Frogs

    Vive la Francais!