Michelin has on several occasions expressed the conditions of it’s involvement in Formula One: Michelin considers Formula One to be a highly technical motorsport in which the tyre is a very influential component in the scope of the performance of the vehicle. The teams freedom to choose their own tyres is essential. Therefore, competition between at least two tyre manufacturers is critical; this provides the basis for real competition between tyre suppliers which, in turn, stimulates progress for the publics greater interest.
Today, it would appear as though Formula One rules will be modified to impose a single tyre supplier.
After consulting with it’s loyal partners (McLaren Mercedes, BMW Sauber F1, Renault F1, Honda Racing F1) as well as with Sir Frank Williams, Michelin is now convinced that the evolution towards a single tyre supplier is inevitable. Michelin expresses it’s regret to see F1 lose a part of it’s high technology.
In addition to this new direction in F1, there are constant changes to racing regulations without warning. Such practices also make planning for the future completely impossible.
In this context, continuing to make long-term investments in Formula One no longer presents the same interest.
Michelin has therefore decided not to extend it’s Formula One involvement beyond the 2006 season.
“This decision is the result of profound differences between Michelins long-standing sporting philosophy and the way Formula One is managed by the regulating authorities, which no longer provide a clear and sustainable environment to justify long-term investments,” commented Mr. Edouard Michelin.
“For Michelin, leaving Formula One in no way represents abandoning motorsports, to which the Michelin brand has been committed for 117 years. If F1s ways of functioning were to be significantly modified, Michelin would not hesitate in proposing it’s services to the different teams once again.”
Michelins withdrawal at the end of 2006 will almost certainly bring into play a single tyre supplier in 2007. In this new situation, it should be possible to verify if the FIAs vaunted advantages of control tyres are proven and, in particular, if equality amongst teams really is guaranteed.
This decision is being made public in December 2005 to respect the FIAs required notice period and to provide a maximum amount of preparation time to Michelin partners, with whom there was no firm commitment beyond 2006.
In conclusion, Mr. Edouard Michelin stated:
“No matter what, Michelin will do everything possible to ensure that it’s partners receive the best service and the best tyres to help them win during the 2006 season, as has always been the case since our return to Formula One in 2001. Michelin would have liked to have extended it’s long-term Formula One involvement, because the demands of Formula One as well as the collaboration with partner teams have been such a source of progress and fruitful exchanges. Thank you to all of our partners for this.”