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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 June, 2005, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
Teams hit with disrepute charge
The Michelin teams pull into the pits at the start of the US Grand Prix
Alonso leads the Michelin teams into the pits at the start of the US GP
The seven teams that pulled out of the US Grand Prix because of tyre safety concerns have been charged with bringing the sport into disrepute.

Renault, McLaren, Williams, Toyota, Red Bull, Sauber and BAR have all been summoned to appear at an FIA hearing in Paris on 29 June.

In an identical letter sent to all teams, motorsport's governing body has charged them on several counts.

These range from not having the right equipment to damaging F1's image.

In the letter, the FIA's sporting secretary general Pierre de Coninck told the team owners they had:

  • "Failed to ensure you had a supply of suitable tyres";

  • "Wrongly refused to allow your cars to start the race";

  • "Wrongly refused to allow your cars to race subject to a speed restriction in one corner which was safe for such tyres as you had available".

    It went on to detail a more general accusation that the teams "combined with other teams to make a demonstration damaging to the image of Formula One by pulling into the pits before the start of the race".

    We are convinced our decision was a professional one in line with our policy of 100% safety
    Michelin statement

    The teams will face a further charge of contravening F1 protocol by not informing stewards of their intention not to race.

    All seven using Michelin tyres withdrew from Sunday's race after the French company admitted problems with them.

    The six cars which started the race were all on Bridgestone tyres, including eventual winner Michael Schumacher, driving a Ferrari.

    Team boss Frank Williams said the Michelin teams were willing to race for no points as long as a chicane was added on to the circuit.

    But the FIA insisted it could not alter the rules to satisfy teams with inadequate equipment.

    Rather than the Michelin teams boycotting the race, the governing body says they should simply have reduced their speed accordingly through the corner that was giving them problems.

    The FIA also gave the teams the option of using different tyres and accepting a penalty.

    Meanwhile, Michelin officials have vowed to remain in F1 despite the controversy in Indianapolis.

    "We are convinced our decision was a professional one in line with our policy of 100% safety," Michelin said.

    The problems in Indianapolis came to a head when two Toyotas crashed in free practice on Friday, thought to be as a result of tyre failure.

    Michelin checked all their tyres and conducted similar tests in France, concluding there could be no guarantees of safety.

    Interview: Sir Frank Williams

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    19 Feb 05 |  Formula One


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