Ferrari Bridgestone tires legal?

UPDATE We are downgrading this rumor to 'false' today. Bridgestone has played down the accusations of rivals Michelin and Renault that a photograph of a technician is proof that the Japanese supplier treats Ferrari's tires with illegal spray.

A spokeswoman said the FIA had 'fully accepted' Bridgestone's explanation and ruled that no action will be taken.

German magazine Auto Motor Und Sport, meanwhile, highlighted an amusing inconsistency in the photograph, last week distributed to media outlets by Michelin, which showed the Bridgestone man wearing protective gloves, an apron and a chemical mask.

Despite suggestions he was wearing the gear to protect himself from hazardous and illegal substances, the technician is also seen to be eating with a spoon either an ice cream or a tub of yoghurt.

With a headline, Germany's Auto Motor Und Sport called the saga a 'Storm in a yoghurt cup'.

09/11/06 (GMM) Twenty four hours after a stewards' decision against Fernando Alonso enraged Renault chiefs, the French squad launched a protest against Ferrari's tires.

While the press was preoccupied with Michael Schumacher's retirement, it initially passed unnoticed that – an hour after the checkered flag at Monza – Renault questioned the legality of the red team's Bridgestone boots.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, and Spain's 'AS' newspaper, Renault and Michelin chiefs showed the governing body photographs that supposedly depicted a Bridgestone technician spraying Ferrari's tires with illegal chemicals.

Such chemicals could be used to improve tire grip.

Their 'proof' of wrongdoing was the Bridgestone-Ferrari technician's wearing of protective gear, including special masks and gloves, but it is understood that FIA officials were satisfied with the explanation offered to them.

It is further understood that the tires in question might have been seized for further detailed testing.

Ferrari boss Jean Todt said of Renault: ''In many ways they are good, but in this case I must say they are weak.''

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