Ecclestone plays down Michelin return reports

Michelin return to Formula 1 now doubtful
Michelin return to Formula 1 now doubtful

Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has moved to play down reports that Michelin could replace Pirelli as the sport’s official tyre supplier next year.

At the height of the new Michelin rumours ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix, the sport’s chief executive admitted that the French marque “[does] want to get back in”.

“But we have had contracts with Pirelli for some time,” he told Auto Motor und Sport.

Ecclestone was referring not only to Pirelli’s 2014 contracts with the organisation he leads – Formula 1 Management (FOM) – but also the vast majority of the teams.

But what about the crucial final contract, between Pirelli and Formula 1’s governing body, the Jean Todt-led FIA?

“[The FIA] have nothing to do with the commercial side,” Ecclestone is now quoted by Brazil’s O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper.

“They are the regulators, checking that the rules are being observed,” he added.

Ecclestone also played down suggestions that the Michelin story is being powered by Frenchman Todt, the FIA president.

“If the issue went to a vote of the World Council,” he said, “[Todt] is entitled to one vote.

“But as it’s not a matter subject to the World Council, it doesn’t make much difference anyway,” added Ecclestone.

Austria’s APA news agency also quoted Ecclestone as saying “All the teams that have talked to me about it say they are very happy with Pirelli”. (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.