Formula 1 teams are hopeful that agreement on the sport's tire supplier for next year can be reached by next weekend's Monaco Grand Prix, with further meetings scheduled to take place in Spain in the next 24 hours.
Michelin, Pirelli and Avon Cooper are all in the running to supply tires for F1 next season, with teams eager to get a decision soon so they can get on with designing their 2011 cars. It is understood that the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) is due to meet in Barcelona on Sunday morning to talk about the latest tire developments, with the FIA also set to make a decision next week on its preferred route for next year.
Renault team principal Eric Boullier told AUTOSPORT that he felt the situation would be relatively simple to sort out, especially now that the tire makers had submitted formal proposals about exactly what they were offering and what their commercial terms are.
Speaking about the FOTA meeting, Boullier said: "It is more a general talk about what the tire companies are offering. We [the teams] have different opinions, but we need tires, so it will be quite easy to sort out.
"It is up to the tire companies to definitely commit, and then we will decide. I think in a couple of days it should be done."
Although both Michelin and Pirelli want F1 to switch to 18-inch tires, both are believed to be happy to phase in the introduction of larger wheels to help teams avoid huge costs in redesigning their cars.
Mercedes GP team principal Ross Brawn thought it would be in everyone's interest if the switch from 13-inch tires was not made immediately.
"If there was an 18-inch rim, it's very late at the moment and I think it would give a lot of the teams severe challenges and severe problems to get ready in time, because it's not just having a bigger wheel, an 18-inch tire behaves differently and you would need to develop the suspension systems and the other things you would need for it," he said.
"I think all the people involved in considering tire supply for the future understand that and want to phase in a larger-diameter wheel, and it's unlikely that we will have a larger-diameter wheel next year. That's still in discussion but I think that's the likelihood."