Bridgestone Corp., Group Michelin and Pirelli & C. S.p.A. are all considering bidding to become the spec tire supplier to Formula 1 Grand Prix racing for the 2008-2010 seasons.
Bridgestone and Michelin supply Formula 1 now, but Michelin-a tire supplier for the past six seasons-will not compete next year, having stated its displeasure with F1 racing's organizer, Federation International de l'Automobile (FIA), to change the rules to a single tire supply situation.
Michelin CEO Michel Rollier told journalists June 10 that the company is evaluating the pros and cons of the single tire supplier contract and may still submit a bid to become the official supplier but will not make its decision known before the FIA's June 23 bid deadline.
Bridgestone, which is in its 10th year of suypplying F1 and will be the series' sole supplier next year after Michelin's departure, said, ``It is our intention to issue our best submission...ahead of the deadline. We believe that with our experience, resources and enthusiasm, we have an excellent opportunity to remain in F1....''
Pirelli, which last competed in F1 in 1988-1991, is ``seriously considering'' a bid to enter F1, according to Paul Hembery, motorsports director, as well as moving up into the top echelon of the LeMans-type endurance racing prototypes.
The FIA wrote into its regulations for the 2008-2010 season the change to a single tire supplier, citing several safety and competition issues as its reasons.
Under the terms and conditions of the bid tender, the company selected to be the tire supplier would supply all teams with all tires-for racing and testing-and necessary support functions free of charge. In return the winning bidder gets the right to identify itself as the ``official tire supplier'' of the F1 World Championship.
Team Renault driver Fernando Alonso won the world drivers' championship last year racing on Michelin tires and leads the standings this year after winning five of the 19-race series' first eight races.
Bridgestone drivers have claimed seven world championships during the Japan-based tire manufacturer's nine seasons as a supplier. During the 1999 and 2000 seasons it was the sole tire supplier after Goodyear withdrew and before Michelin rejoined the competition.