Hembery: Michelin return would be farcical
26 August 2013 – Pirelli's Motorsport Director, Paul Hembery, has stated that the return of Michelin to Formula 1 would lead to a 'farcical' situation, with the French brand confirming in Belgium that it is interested in supplying teams from next season.
It is believed that Michelin is willing to back down from their demand for the sport to shift to 18-inch wheels in order to be ready in time for the coming campaign. With many teams deep into development of their 2014 chassis, the request would have required a major late-stage redesign of suspension geometry. The company would also be likely to lobby for a move away from the recent high-degradation formula.
Although governing body the FIA has yet to sign a new contract with Pirelli, the Italian manufacturer has already inked a commercial deal with Bernie Ecclestone and FOM. The situation leaves open the possibility of Michelin-clad Formula 1 cars racing on circuits adorned with Pirelli signage, a scenario Hembery regards as ridiculous.
"If Michelin wanted to return why didn’t they come out and say so last September?" Hembery told the Daily Telegraph. "Quite frankly a tender in September when you are running in January would be farcical. You should have done that in September last year. We have contracts in place, and we would hope people would respect them."
It is widely accepted that FIA President Jean Todt is in favour of a Michelin return, with a decision likely to be taken at the September World Motor Sport Council meeting.