If you thought all the Formula One action was taking place on the Shanghai circuit today, then listen up.
The latest rumour doing the rounds in the paddock is that Cooper Avon tyres has emerged as a surprise late contender to supply tyres for the sport next season, according to Autosport.
This is despite the teams having agreed in principle a deal with Michelin!
Apparently, after weeks of discussions between F1 teams and the French tyre manufacturer, well-placed sources have revealed that an official offer for a 2011 deal has now been proposed in writing to the Formula One Teams’ Association (FOTA).
Autosport reports: “While what is proposed is believed to have the support of every team, the move still needs ratification from the FIA and F1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone before it can be put into practice.
“However, despite the teams being keen on the Michelin plans – which will include a switch to 18-inch wheels – sources claim that Bernie Ecclestone is not in favour of such a move, and is instead believed to be keen on a different tyre manufacturer getting involved.”
High level, behind-the-scenes meetings are expected to be going on today to try and sort out the situation – with Ecclestone having not yet informed teams what his own preferred route for 2011 is.
A source told AUTOSPORT: “We want to know by the Spanish Grand Prix what tyres we are running in 2011. That is why we plan to meet with Ecclestone on Sunday to see what his idea is.”
Sources suggest that Ecclestone is pushing for a deal with Cooper Avon. It is possible that the tyre manufacturer could use former Bridgestone personnel to help service the tyres and ensure it is operating at a level that will satisfy F1 teams.
Alex Kapadia, Operations Team