ERJ staff report (PR)
Clermont-Ferrand, France – Michelin says it will use the forthcoming Formula E competition as a "laboratory" to speed up development of its technology, as its racing tires will be generally similar to road variants.
The firm has sole rights to supply all ten teams in the electric racing vehicle competition, which starts in Beijing this September.
"What is important is to use the competition as a laboratory to accelerate innovation," Michelin global Formula E manager, Serge Grisin, said.
"What is interesting is Formula E is working with sustainability – Michelin has been involved with sustainability with green tires and the Michelin Bibendum Challenge.
"We are talking about the future of mobility, especially in cities. For Michelin, we will use Formula E to make improvements in tire technologies, especially for electric cars, which is an answer for mobility in cities."
Grisin added the competition would be the first time a single seat car would use 18" tires, a size "very close" to that featured on road vehicles.
The inaugural season will involve ten teams, each with two drivers, with all confirmed and approved by the FIA.
Each team will run four Spark-Renault SRT-01E Formula E cars, two per driver, with the cars and operations based at a purpose built central workshop at Donington Park, part of a number of steps to reduce overall running costs.
From season two Formula E will become an 'open championship' allowing teams to design and develop their own cars – in accordance to technical specifications set out by the FIA – and showcasing their electrical energy innovations in a competitive, racing environment.
"Every race will take place in cities – it will be a new public that will be interested," said Grisin. "It will not be in competition with other championships.
"We will have a different audience compared to classic races like Le Mans. We can deliver different messages to different people, talking about road safety and sustainability."
Michelin will supply its Pilot Sport EV tire for the ten teams – a brand suited for dry and wet conditions – "a big innovation for motorsport," said Grisin.
The development will mean fewer tires having to be manufactured and transported.