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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old Sep 10th, 2003, 02:32 AM Thread Starter
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F1: Michelin tyres approved

For some reason the article is cut off So I'll try to find the end of it somewhere else, since it's Reuters . . .

http://www.eurosport.com/home/pages/...to480953.shtml

Michelin tyres approved

Michelin have come up with a new tyre that should allow Williams and McLaren to fight Ferrari for the Formula One title without fear of disqualification, the governing FIA said on Tuesday. Calling time on a bitter argument over allegedly illegal tyres, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) said in a statement before Sunday's Italian Grand Prix that they were satisfied with what they had seen.

"The FIA were shown examples of a new Michelin tyre before and after use," said the statement, released after a meeting with Michelin, McLaren and Williams bosses on Monday.

"The FIA technical department has confirmed that it believes these tyres will comply with the Formula One regulations if used in the same way at Monza."

Williams, who lead Ferrari by eight points in the constructors' standings, and McLaren fear a clampdown on the tyre rules at Monza could hand Ferrari's Michael Schumacher a record sixth title by disqualifying their drivers.

Both teams are supplied by Michelin, while Ferrari use Bridgestone tyres and have accused the French manufacturer of making front tyres that had an illegal amount -- more than 270 millimetres -- of tread in race conditions.

"Potentially, this whole affair is throwing the world championship out of the window for both of us," Tuesday's Guardian newspaper quoted McLaren managing director Martin Whitmarsh as saying.

NOT ACCEPTABLE

The FIA made clear that although they had not changed or reinterpreted the rules, the Michelin tyres used previously might not pass post-race inspection.

"With hindsight, it is regrettable that those using the earlier Michelin front tyres did not consult the FIA about possible excess tread width as soon as they became aware of it," said the statement.

"However as far as the FIA technical department is concerned, the matter is now closed and the championship can continue with all teams on an equal footing."

Michelin tested with the new tyres at Monza last week after the FIA said it will now check tyres for tread width after the races as well as before. Some teams suggested afterwards that the new tyres performed better than the old ones.

The title battle is at a critical stage with Schumacher leading Williams' Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya by one point with Finland's Kimi Raikkonen a further point behind for McLaren with three races remaining.

Whitmarsh said McLaren and Williams still had "considerable concern about the issue of approving the tyres' conformity at the end of the race".

"Put simply, we can either use the existing tyres and risk not conforming with these revised rule interpretations or we can use new tyres and still risk being illegal despite a loss of performance," he added.

"Michelin has done a great job but the changes in set-up we have had to make -- to toe-in, camber and tyre pressures -- have not worked to our advantage."

However Williams' chief operations engineer Sam Michael sounded less worried, saying that the meeting with the FIA was "very constructive for all those c

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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old Sep 10th, 2003, 02:39 AM Thread Starter
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Not the same article, but the other major report going around about the "small performance advantage" of the new tyres:

Teams tire of tyre feuding
Alan Henry
Wednesday September 10, 2003
The Guardian
http://sport.guardian.co.uk/formulao...038878,00.html

The dispute over Michelin tyre tread widths has been resolved to the satisfaction of all the formula one teams, the FIA said yesterday, contradicting McLaren's view expressed earlier this week.

"During a meeting on Monday with representatives of Michelin and the McLaren and Williams formula one teams the FIA was shown examples of a new Michelin tyre before and after use," said a spokesman for the governing body. "The FIA technical department has confirmed that it believes these tyres will comply with the formula one regulations if used the same way at Monza in Sunday's Italian grand prix."

He continued: "A number of press reports have suggested that the FIA has changed or reinterpreted the tyre regulations. This is not correct. The maximum tread width has been 270mm since 1999. The FIA has never suggested that tread width was unlimited once the tyre was in use."

After the Hungarian grand prix it was suggested by Ferrari, and their supplier Bridgestone, that in certain circumstances the Michelin front tyres used by five rival teams might infringe this limit.

The FIA added: "With hindsight it is regrettable that those using the earlier Michelin front tyres did not consult the FIA about possible excess tread width as soon as they became aware of it. However, as far as the FIA technical department is concerned the matter is now closed."

If McLaren had any lingering concerns over the policing of the tyre tread rules, which will see the "contact patch" measured after the races rather than before as had been the case, their rivals Williams, Toyota and Renault seemed satisfied that the latest batch of Michelin tyres would be competitive.

"I have to say a big thank-you to the FIA," said the Toyota driver Olivier Panis. "Michelin had to do what it had to do [in ensuring conformity] and it has worked out so well for us as [in testing] we were quicker on the new construction."

That view was echoed by Renault's technical director Mike Gascoyne, whose No1 driver Fernando Alonso led the Hungarian grand prix from start to finish on Michelins. "Testing the new-shaped tyre we actually noticed a small performance advantage over its predecessor."

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