MONACO (AP) — Formula One’s governing body has invited companies to bid to become the sole supplier of F1 tires for a three-year period starting in 2017.
Pirelli has been the sole supplier since 2011 and has a deal running until the end of next year.
Governing body FIA wants applications by June 17, and candidates must meet technical and safety requirements to be considered.
As part of its bid to make cars faster, FIA is considering introducing wider tires as from 2017 to speed up lap times by up to six seconds.
Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said his company is “happy with our involvement” in F1 but has yet to commit on whether it will bid again.
“It depends what the sport wants and then you’ve got to understand the rules, what the cost implications would be. So you can’t really have an answer until you know the parameters,” Hembery said. “At the moment the tender will be for a single supplier so (in) 2017, I might be here or I might be sat on a boat having some champagne and watching it. Probably better to be sat on the boat actually.”
Even though some drivers, such as McLaren driver Fernando Alonso, are in favor of multiple tire suppliers — claiming it could make the sport more exciting — team principals are largely against the idea because the best teams would inevitably get the best tires.
“I just hope that no tire war will come, that means no other tire manufacturer, because this means that two teams will get the good tires,” Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost said. “When Michelin was in, it was Renault, therefore Alonso has good memories, and Bridgestone with Ferrari, therefore Michael (Schumacher) was so successful.”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said multiple suppliers would only increase costs for teams already struggling with budgets.
“It will drive costs up immeasurably,” Horner said. “You would have to develop your car around a specific tire, so I think it’s been one of the successes in having a sole tire.”
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.