Ready to look past Monaco? Tire decision down to Michelin or the preferred Pirelli

Pirelli reportedly has the upper hand in getting the contract to supply Formula 1 with tires in 2011, Speed TV commentator Bob Varsha said during the Monaco Grand Prix.

And that seems to be the conventional wisdom as everyone vacates the principality.

Autosport caught up with Ferrari principal Stefano Domenicali, who told the outfit that Avon Cooper and Bridgestone both are out of the running.

“No decision has been taken yet,” said Domenicali. “I think another week and maybe by next weekend hopefully we will be able to find a solution. There are still only two possibilities – Michelin and Pirelli. I don’t see any other option.”

And his Renault counterpart, Eric Boullier, also stressed that a decision has to be made within two weeks, at the Turkish Grand Prix.

“It has to be, because I think there is a technical issue that if we wait too late then nothing will be ready for next year. It has to be done by Turkey.”

I still think the upside for Pirelli is much greater than for Michelin. It would cement the company as a supplier of high-performance tires, both here in North America and, I suspect, in emerging markets, as well. Michelin, like Bridgestone, has a wider market profile, although we all do know it has a strong racing heritage.

I do wonder if any of the companies can provide over the course of less than a year a tire that is as resilient as Bridgestone’s are proving this year. Heck, I suppose the question is: Are they too resilient? Fernando Alonso, after all, essentially ran the entire Monaco race on a set of the harder compounds.

It also seems like Bridgestone, now that the company is leaving, is giving the middles to Formula 1. “Here’s what we could have been doing, jerks!”

It is a far cry from some of the tire wear we witnessed last season. But is it too far in the other direction? Are tires now not a variable?

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