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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 June, 2005, 18:22 GMT 19:22 UK
Seven teams boycott US Grand Prix
Michelin officials are bombarded by questions in the Indianapolis pitlane
Michelin officials face questions in the Indianapolis pitlane
Seven teams pulled out of the US GP to boos from 100,000 Indianapolis fans as a row over tyres destroyed the race.

Only Ferrari, Minardi and Jordan - on Bridgestone tyres - raced after Ferrari scuppered a last-ditch rescue proposal.

The Italian team vetoed a plan agreed by all the other teams to introduce a chicane at the final corner, which had caused problems for Michelin tyres.

The FIA refused to allow the change - and as a result the seven Michelin teams pulled out after the parade lap

The crowd at Indianapolis were largely oblivious to the controversy - until Renault, McLaren, BAR, Williams, Red Bull, Toyota and Sauber all dived into the pit lane moments before the start.

To change the course to help some of the teams would be grossly unfair to those teams which have come to Indianapolis with the correct tyres
FIA statement

Michelin had advised its seven teams not to race without changes because of the tyre failure that lead Ralf Schumacher to smash into a wall in Friday practice.

And team officials, F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone, and - at one point - all 20 drivers were locked in lengthy talks in a bid to save the race.

The teams emerged to say nine of them had agreed to race with a chicane at Schumacher's accident spot.

But Ferrari objected and F1 officials had already ruled out making a change to the track.

"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 tyres," the FIA said.

Team officials seemed to hang on the hope that track bosses would make the changes anyway.

And all 20 drivers took to the track for the parade lap on the proviso they would only pass the start if they got word the chicane was installed.

But the start came and went without news of the change, and the teams immediately pulled out.

The crisis began on Friday after Toyota drivers Schumacher and Ricardo Zonta crashed at the same spot on the final bend.

Despite tests, Michelin were unable to "understand or reproduce" the tyre failure that caused the crash.

The company wanted to fly in new tyres from its factory in France, but International Automobile Federation (FIA) rules introduced this season, prohibit the introduction of a new tyre part-way through a Grand Prix weekend.





SEE ALSO
Trulli secures first Toyota pole
18 Jun 05 |  Formula One
Ralf to miss GP following crash
18 Jun 05 |  Formula One


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