Michelin deems 13-inch wheels 'a thing of the past'

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Tyre manufacturers have until June 17 to register with the FIA if they wish to apply for Formula 1's new  tender contract which shall span three years, from 2017 to 2019.

While existing supplier Pirelli has already confirmed its wish to remain in F1, Michelin however says it is currently not interested in returning to the pinnacle of motorsports with tyre and wheel specifications standing in their present form.

Speaking to the Gazetto dello Sport, the French manufacturer's motorcycle racing director said he was against the move.

"Formula 1 is the opposite of our philosophy," said Nicolas Goubert. The 13-inch tyres are not used by any road cars and maybe should give the highest performance for only 10 laps. That's not what we want to show. I don't think Michelin will participate in the FIA tender, we prefer to be in MotoGP."

Pirelli demonstrated prototype 18-inch tyres on a GP2 car during the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, to prove its ability to adapt to any future changes in regulations, including a switch to a wider diameter, low profile tyre in Formula 1.

But Pirelli racing's boss Paul Hembery is unsure the FIA would approve a greater diameter wheel. “I’ve got a feeling we’ll end up with a much wider tyre, but on a 13-inch rim," Hembery said. “I think the Pirelli marketing department would like to keep 13-inch and a nice big sidewall for the branding, which we don’t have to pay for – every cloud has a silver lining.”

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