Michelin and Pirelli woo F1

As motor sport closed for press the FIA and F1 teams had yet to decide whether Pirelli or Michelin would win the tyre contract for 2011 and beyond.

As the battle hotted up Michelin dropped its annual price from €5 million to €1.5m, although the different commercial packages on offer made it hard to make a direct comparison between the two brands.

Michelin is favoured by many teams, especially those who worked with the French supplier up to its F1 withdrawal at the end of 2006. However, Pirelli’s package proved surprisingly attractive. The company’s renewed presence at F1 races this year, via its role in the new GP3 series, has not hurt its case.

“It’s not clear which way it will go,” said Mercedes GP CEO Nick Fry. “The technical and commercial packages are different. We think Pirelli and Michelin can both do the job, and to be honest we are ambivalent about it.”