Correspondence between FIA and Michelin over USGP tire issue

June 19, 2005

Letter from Representatives of Michelin to Charlie Whiting, the FIA Formula One Race Director:

Saturday June 18 2005

Charlie Whiting, FIA Race Director and Safety delegate

Dear Mr. Whiting

Having analyzed and fully evaluated the tire failures that have occurred over the Indianapolis Grand Prix practice sessions we have been unable to identify a root cause.

The current rules and timescale do not permit the use of an alternative tire solution and the race must be performed with the qualifying tires.

Michelin has in the sole interest of safety informed its partner teams that we do not have total assurance that all tires that qualified the cars can be used unless the vehicle speed in turn 13 can be reduced.

Michelin very much regrets this situation, but has taken this decision after careful consideration and in the best interests of safety at the event.

We trust that the FIA can understand our position and we remain at your disposal if you want any further information.

Pierre Dupasquier
Michelin Motorsport Director

Nick Shorrock
Director of Michelin F1 activities

Bernie Ecclestone
Michelin teams
Ron Dennis (West McLaren-Mercedes)
Flavio Briatore (Mild Seven Renault F1)
Frank Williams (BMW WilliamsF1 Team)
Peter Sauber (Sauber Petronas)
Christian Horner (Red Bull Racing)
Nick Fry (B-A-R Honda)
John Howett (Panasonic Toyota Racing)

Letter from Charlie Whiting, the FIA Formula One Race Director, in reply to above letter from Representatives of Michelin:

19 June, 2005

Dear Mr. Dupasquier,
Dear Mr. Shorrock,

We have received your letter of 18 June.

We are very surprised that this difficulty has arisen. As you know, each team is allowed to bring two different types of tire to an event so as to ensure that a back-up (usually of lower performance) is available should problems occur. It is hard to understand why you have not supplied your teams with such a tire given your years of experience at Indianapolis.

That the teams you supply are not in possession of such a tire will also be a matter for the FIA to consider in due course under Article 151c of the International Sporting Code.

No doubt you will inform your teams what is the maximum safe speed for their cars in Turn 13. We will remind them of the need to follow your advice for safety reasons. We will also ask them to ensure their cars do not obstruct other competitors.

Some of the teams have raised with us the possibility of running a tire which was not used in qualifying. We have told them this would be a breach of the rules to be considered by the stewards. We believe the penalty would not be exclusion but would have to be heavy enough to ensure that no team was tempted to use qualifying tires in the future.

Another possibility would be for the relevant teams repeatedly to change the affected tire during the race (we understand you have told your teams the left rear is safe for a maximum of ten laps at full speed). If the technical delegate and the stewards were satisfied that each change was made because the tire would otherwise fail (thus for genuine safety reasons) and that the relevant team were not gaining an advantage, there would be no penalty. If this meant using tires additional to a teamsí allocation, the stewards would consider all the circumstances in deciding what penalty, if any, to apply.

Finally, it has been suggested that a chicane should be laid out in Turn 13. I am sure you will appreciate that this is out of the question. To change the course in order to help some of the teams with a performance problem caused by their failure to bring suitable equipment to the race would be a breach of the rules and grossly unfair to those teams which have come to Indianapolis with the correct tires.

Yours sincerely,

Charlie Whiting
FIA Formula One Race Director

cc: Bernie Ecclestone
Ron Dennis (West McLaren-Mercedes)
Flavio Briatore (Mild Seven Renault F1)
Frank Williams (BMW WilliamsF1 Team)
Peter Sauber (Sauber Petronas)
Christian Horner (Red Bull Racing)
Nick Fry (B-A-R Honda)
John Howett (Panasonic Toyota Racing)
Jean Todt (Scuderia Ferrari)
Colin Kolles (Jordan Grand Prix)
Paul Stoddart (Minardi F1 Team)

Formula One Press Corps

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