In a statement today, the FIA has accepted Michelin's application to supply tires to the World Rally Championship (FIA-WRC) teams beginning in 2011.
Michelin's application was prompted by the FIA's decision to open the championship to more than one tire manufacturer and by the likelihood of a rule change. Currently, the WRC is serviced exclusively by Pirelli, but the Italian manufacturer won't be supporting WRC in 2011 after it secured the contract to supply Formula 1 tires next year. It blames instability in the new tire regulations as a reason for leaving.
Michelin stated that racing offers teams the opportunity to validate their technological innovations in the most extreme conditions. These innovations will then be transferred to street tires, thereby helping to improve the performance balance and lower the environmental impact of Michelin's products. As a result, Michelin wishes to supports the FIA in its commitment to integrating a more responsible vision of rallying by reducing the number of tires used in races, beginning in 2012. This is in line with an environmental approach that Michelin has been pursuing since 1992, when it introduced its first fuel-efficient tire.
Michelin participated in the premier category of rallying when competition was open to several tire makers until 2005, winning 38 world championships titles over the years.
Next season, Michelin will supply its partners with Michelin-brand rally tires. There is currently no news about whether other tire manufacturers will also compete in WRC, making the possibility of a tire war uncertain.