Michelin will have to win Ecclestone over

Pascal Couasnon, motorsport director at Michelin, believes that a return to Formula 1 is only possible if they win over Bernie Ecclestone.

With both the French tyre manufacturer and Pirelli submitting bids to become the tyre suppliers to the sport from 2017 to 2019, Couasnon told Autosport that Ecclestone might end up having to make the final decision if both bids are found to be acceptable.

The FIA meet on 17 July to discuss the merits of these bids and will then make their verdict known. If both are found to be acceptable, Ecclestone as the commercial rights holder of the sport, will have to decided on the outcome. 

Couasnon however, believes that discussions should take place if this scenario does play out. 

"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," he said.

In the past, Ecclestone has been relatively outspoken about their proposed return to the sport.  

Couasnon feels however, that this cannot be allowed to affect Michelin in their quest to re-enter Formula 1. They already supply teams in both sportscar racing and Formula E. 

"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."

Depending on how things turn out, the Frenchmen stressed that they would not be drawn into a bidding war in order to win the contract. 

"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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