Michelin has warned that time is now "very tight" to get a tire supply deal in place for next season, as confusion continues to surround the ongoing situation for 2011.
Although F1 teams are closing in on finalizing a deal with Pirelli, FIA president Jean Todt warned this week that it would be the governing body – and not the competitors – who will have the final say in which direction F1 takes. Even though Pirelli is believed to be the preferred route, Michelin's competition chief, Nick Shorrock (above) said on Thursday that his company has not yet been told that it is definitely out of the running.
Shorrock flew to the Turkish Grand Prix last month to speak to teams about Michelin's plans and offer for next year – and he said he had had no feedback from the teams about their thoughts since then.
"Since the trip that I made to Istanbul two weeks ago, the objective of which was to meet with the teams to talk about the details of our offer, I've had no feedback, but I am expecting some," Shorrock said at Le Mans. "But time is getting very tight to develop a product that is consistent, delivers good performance and above all is safe. Michelin has vast experience of competition in different disciplines in F1, and endurance gives us a very strong base to develop whatever tire. The sooner the better because then we can start working in earnest."
With Todt having suggested that the tire matter will go out to tender, which could mean several more weeks before a final decision is taken, Shorrock reckons that tire companies may struggle to get things sorted if they do not find out soon what the plan is.
"Within the next couple of weeks if there's not enough information then it's going to make life extremely hard for all parties," he said. "My past experience of F1 is around this time people start moving on to next year's car. If you're not on board in June/July time, you will be struggling."