CLERMONT-FERRAND, France (Dec. 14)—Michelin will end its involvement in Formula 1 Grand Prix auto racing after the 2006 season, saying it considers F1's "inevitable" move to single tire supplier status is counter to Michelin's "long-standing sporting philosophy"
Michelin said recent actions by Formula 1's sanctioning body, the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile—including recommending single tire supplier status, reinstating slick tires, reinstating tire changes during races—were done with little or no warning, making it impossible to conduct long-term planning.
Michelin said it considers the racing teams' freedom to choose their own tires as "essential," and competition between at least two tire makers is critical to "stimulate progress for the public's greater interest."
Michelin said it made its decision public at this time to respect the FIA's required notice period and to provide teams it will supply in 2006 enough time to prepare for the 2007 season and beyond.
The tire maker is set to supply six of the 10 teams competing in the F1 championship next year—McLaren Mercedes, BMW Sauber F1, Renault F1, Honda Racing F1, Red Bull Racing and Red Bull's Toro Rosso affiliated team. Bridgestone Corp. supplies the other four teams.