Michelin has announced its contentedness with the new rules being imposed on motorsport tyres.
Following a meeting in Barcelona, The World Motor Sport Council plans to introduce two new regulations concerning motorsport tyres, set to come into effect on New Year’s Day 2007. The new regulations were outlined in a press release issued by the Federation Internationale de L’Automobile (FIA) and aim to maintain competition between tyre manufacturers in the World Championship. Negotiations held by Michelin, Dunlop and Bridgestone aimed to determine the effects and action required in response to the Motorsport regulations.
Michelin has backed the decisions which allow tyre suppliers in F1 to provide two sets of tyres for each of their contracted teams, as opposed to previous regulations which enforced to two types of tyres for all of their teams. This change comes in response to the Bridgestone/Ferrari advantage in 2002, where Bridgestone was able to design tyres specifically for Ferrari as its only top team, while Michelin was forced to compromise in order to satisfy both Mclaren and Williams. Tyre companies will now be able to tailor tyres to their teams and competition bewteen tyre companies will be maintained.
Nicolas Goubet, Michelin’s director of motorcycle racing, spoke on behalf of Michelin when he proclaimed that they were “happy with the new rules”, adding that, “the tyre agreement is a very good agreement, especially if you look at what is happening in other Motorsport championships, particularly in Formula One switching to a single tyre maker rule.” For Michelin, the new regulations ensure that tyre companies are able to compete. Goubet expained that the CEO of Dorna, the MotoGP rights holders, “wanted different tyre brands to continue fighting on the racetrack.”
Despite Michelin’s excitement about the freedom the new agreement allows in way of competition, Goubet also expressed the concerns the regulations incite: “Once the objective to keep everyone involved was clear, the second most important point was to ensure that we don’t have too much cost inflation, because costs can escalate when you have major manufacturers competing in a highly prestigious series.” In light of the threat of inflation, new restrictions on tyre testing has been introduced: “In this respect, the most important factor was to reduce the possibility of test teams to test tyres. From next year test teams can only run at official IRTA tests plus one track during the season and one track during the off-season.”
Michelin has enjoyed a win-rate of 95% in the last ten years of premier class Motorcycle racing.