Michelin knows it must win Bernie Ecclestone over in F1 return bid

Michelin motorsport director Pascal Couasnon appreciates winning over a sceptical Bernie Ecclestone is key to the French tyre manufacturer's return to Formula 1.

The battle for F1's next tyre-supply contract is a straight fight between Michelin and current incumbent Pirelli, with the FIA to deliver a verdict on the technical merits of both proposals by July 17.

If both are acceptable, then beyond that a decision as to which company will be handed the next deal - to run from 2017-19 - will be made by commercial rights holder Ecclestone.

Speaking to AUTOSPORT, Couasnon said: "There will be a very open and honest discussion and us saying to him 'here is the reason why we deserve to be in F1'.

"The drivers have expressed a wish to be given a new challenge, so we will put our facts on the table, and by the end of the day Bernie will decide, and we will respect his decision."

Ecclestone was highly critical of Michelin to AUTOSPORT in May, underlining the difficulty for Couasnon in convincing the 84-year-old.

"It's always difficult to interpret what has been said previously. What is important for us is to do our job," asserted Couasnon.

"We know what we can deliver in Formula E and in sportscar racing, and it is on these facts we want to negotiate and have a good discussion."

Couasnon has warned Ecclestone, however, Michelin will not get involved in a bidding war with Pirelli for the new contract.

Pirelli contributes a substantial amount of money to F1 via trackside advertising, yet Couasnon said: "We will not do things that don't make sense for us.

"We will go with a proposal, and for sure that will be a package which will be debated.

"We know what we are ready to put on the table, and if [Ecclestone] goes over [with his demands], it's over, and if it's within what is reasonable for us, then it will be in hand."

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Michelin, Motorsport, F1