Formula One, like many divisions of auto racing, is a rapidly growing sport. Whether it is the speed, adventure, or adrenaline fans are drawn to it. But like any professional sport there are changes that need to be made and Formula One is no exception.
Italian tire maker Pirelli has a long history with Formula One. They have supplied tires for the sport off and on since 1950 and most recently since 2011. Many assumed that they would remain the supply for the 2014 season. Some arrangements have been made with racing teams as well as Bernie Ecclestone, F1 CEO; although an official contract has not yet been signed.
Because an official contract has not been yet set it opens the door for all potential supplies including Michelin.
Michelin has supplied tires for many years in the past, most recently from 2001-2006. Recent events have created some instability for Pirelli and it is believed that many teams are looking for a change and would be open to seeing Michelin come back in.
The road, however, will not be smooth. The technical regulations have already been set for the 2014 season but both Pirelli and Michelin are considering changes. Adjustments to the cars, engines, and over all weight have led Pirelli to consider creating a wider tire that would allow for a greater load capacity. In contrast Michelin wants to switch to a new low-profile tire that other divisions of auto racing use. Critics say there is not enough justification to change to a tire that would be heavier, potentially more dangerous in accidents, and cost more.
With any big deal cost is often secondary to who you know. Pirelli has close connections with F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone as well as the advantage of being the tire supplier for the past 3 seasons. Michelin, on the other hand, has close ties to the FIA (Federation International de Automobile) President Jean Todt.
Change is part of any sport or industry and with either of these companies change is imminent; the question becomes just how much change there will be and how much it will cost the teams.