Michelin: F1 Tyres Wrong Spec, Not Faulty
Having completed an internal investigation into why its tyres were not suitable for the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis, Michelin has found that its tyres were the wrong specification, rather than faulty. “The tyres were not intrinsically flawed, but were insufficiently suited to the extreme racing conditions encountered through Turn 13 of the Indianapolis circuit this year”, an official statement read.
In order to explain why its tyre choice led to every one of its teams retiring for the US Grand Prix, Michelin pointed to a unique characteristics of the course. The manufacturer pointed out that the severe banking at turn 13 is unique amongst the 19 races this season. In addition Michelin noted that testing at the Indianapolis circuit was “not possible.” Instead Michelin carried out simulation work based on the results from other venues and worked from estimations concerning the specific conditions at Indianapolis in 2005.
The Michelin investigation has revealed that the loads exerted on the rear left tyre through Turn 13 at Indianapolis were far superior to the highest estimations of Michelin’s engineers. This year, the situation through this corner turned out to be altered by the extreme combination of the speed, lateral acceleration and additional dynamic load, the statement explains. At the same time an investigation into the structure and construction of the tyre have “confirmed the absence of any abnormality”.
“The problem was that we under-evaluated the extreme constraints to which tyres were exposed through Turn 13 in the specific context of 2005. We are grateful to our partners for their work with us right up to the last moment to seek a solution that would have permitted the race to go ahead in total safety. We regret that the spectators did not see an exciting race. However, in keeping with its principles, Michelin did not sacrifice safety for performance”, said Michelin competition director, Pierre Dupasquier.
As a result of its findings Michelin has requested for testing at Indianapolis to be possible in future Grand Prix. The company confirmed that it will be present at the other forthcoming Grand Prix races.