Michelin has confirmed it would be interested in supplying tyres to Formula One from next season – if the sport agrees to a change in conditions.
For a start the French tyre manufacturer would want a departure from the brief given to the present tyre supplier Pirelli, which is to make tyres which degrade quickly.
Pascal Couasnon, director of motor sport for Michelin, said: “We really don’t like the way F1 is presented today, not at all. It disappoints and even angers me.
“You don’t create a good image of such an important automotive product – a tyre – by changing it every few laps or even every few corners.”
Michelin would also prefer the F1 tyres to become more relevant to road cars, and so would eventually like to see a switch to 17 or 18-inch wheels, compared to the current 13-inch.
Couasnon said: “It is quite an interesting technical challenge, but one of the problems is it doesn’t mirror high-performance road tyres.
“If F1 is ready to go to 18-inch wheels, we’ll definitely be in the championship.”
However, the French tyre manufacturer has dismissed reports that it is due for an imminent meeting with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone to discuss the possibility.
Couasnon told Le Figaro: “I guarantee I have not scheduled any meetings with Bernie Ecclestone.
“I hardly know the world of F1, but all of these people depend on each other.
“If negotiations were to begin, we would lead them to the FIA, Bernie Ecclestone and the teams.
“We have already sent (to the FIA) the same information as we’ve made public, so our position is known to all.
“If the FIA agreed to negotiate a different way of using tyres in F1, then perhaps we are ready to talk.”
Pirelli has reacted to the reports insisting it would be “farcical” if the FIA puts F1’s tyre-supply contract from 2014 out to tender now.
Paul Hembery, motorsport director for Pirelli, does not believe another manufacturer would have time to develop a range of tyres within a few months.
Couasnon acknowledges timing is crucial. He said: “We need time for the production of tyres. Let’s just say the end of October will be too late to change.”