FIA Publishes Michelin Correspondence
In the continuing aftermath of the fateful US Grand Prix F1’s governing body has contested “Michelin’s version of events” of what happened at the race. The association made the comments by taking the unusual step of publishing its correspondence to the manufacturer. An FIA statement said it decided to do so because earlier correspondence had been “deliberately leaked to members of the press.”
In a fax dated 29 June, FIA chief, Max Mosely, said: “We cannot agree that Michelin did ‘the maximum to preserve a true and safe race’”. The letter continued by countering claims that the high speed corner at turn 13 was to blame for its tyre failure. “This is quite an extraordinary statement. The banking on turn 13 has been there for nearly 100 years and Michelin have raced on it many times.”
In addition, Mr Mosely questioned Michelin’s suggestion that “Formula 1 regulations do not ‘require that manufacturers supply tyres that would not undergo degradation or bursting when used in very extreme conditions.’” What is Formula 1 if not “motoring in very extreme conditions?” the letter asked.
One Michelin spokesman told Tyres & Accessories that the data Michelin based its 2005 tyres on was based on calculations it gained from the when it was working under the 2004 Formula 1 tyre rules. Tyres built for this season had completely different specifications and could be changed at any point in the race, he explained. In contrast, this year’s tyres would have to have lasted qualifying and an entire race and therefore more data was needed. From the manufacturers point of view, the problem was that it has tested its new tyres at five venues, although unfortunately Indianapolis was not one of them.
Meanwhile, the FIA has welcomed Michelin’s offer to buy spectators of the 2005 US Grand Prix, a free ticket for next year’s event. Earlier the French manufacturer made the offer as a “goodwill gesture”, but was keen to point out that it was not legally obliged to make the offer.