Tony Ménard is the director of motorsport for Michelin North America.
Q. Michelin is a recognized leader in sustainability. As the director of Motorsport for Michelin North America, where does sustainability fit into your role and your responsibilities?
Tony Ménard: The Michelin group strategy is built around three pillars. People, Profit and Planet. People: because from the beginning respect for people and for our customer is key for us. Profit: because we must gain the trust of our shareholders and continue to invest on our own and continue our growth in the future. For planet, we mean that sustainability is not a catchphrase or a subject that sits alone in a silo. Rather, it is a factor in every part of our business.
We have a great opportunity within motorsport because since the beginning it has been a laboratory to test solutions for tomorrow’s mobility. The best laboratory you can imagine is motorsport. And now we are combining this laboratory role from a pure technical standpoint to technical and sustainability. That is our role to play within Michelin’s broader sustainability strategy.
North America represents a great opportunity because of the passion for racing we have here.
Q. Why is sustainability important to motorsports?
TM: Motorsport is not separated from the current issues the world faces. For mobility, motorsport has always been a place to test new things and prepare for the future.
There is entertainment and passion in motorsport, but something even bigger in my opinion. All the big and important technologies that have been found in the automotive industry in the past century, they all came first from motorsport. And for me, the sustainable mobility of tomorrow, should follow the same logic.
Either you anticipate and you take proactive steps, or you wait until the government or some other organization tells you that racing is not sustainable. We want to lead in this area, not follow.
Q. What is Michelin doing to make racing more sustainable?
TM: The idea is to use tires until the last percent of their potential. For me, reducing tire allocation or tires used while delivering the performance and not having racers unhappy is one part. But then after, there is everything in the ecosystem we have to consider. Transporting less tires and making daily operations more sustainable. We should as well lead by example. I think we need to go a step further.
You cannot be credible and genuine on the sustainable message if do not have a consistent approach in everything you do. And the ambition for us in North America is to make sure that Michelin is a leader of this sustainable initiative.
Q. What will we see next in terms of sustainability?
TM: Sustainability will be in all discussions at Michelin Motorsport North America. There won’t be any single topic without reference to sustainability, and that’s not a communication exercise. The planet pillar is as important as the profit and people pillars within the Michelin strategy.
This consistency of the balance between our three pillars in our message, I think that’s what you will hear systematically now. We probably have not been vocal enough about this in the past. But for me, this is the right moment. We have the tools in our toolbox. The vision is there. The ecosystem is facing challenges and this is the right time to address sustainability. I think being late on sustainability will be a very negative factor for the companies that choose to look the other way.