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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 December 2005, 14:46 GMT
Michelin opts to quit Formula One
Michelin was at the centre of the controversy in America this year
Tyre manufacturer Michelin has announced that it will quit Formula One at the end of the 2006 season.

The move follows the decision by the sport's governing body, the FIA, to have a single tyre manufacturer to supply teams from 2008.

Michelin and FIA president Max Mosley have been at loggerheads since tyre problems caused 14 cars to pull out of the US Grand Prix at the last minute.

Bridgestone is now left as the sole tyre supplier.

"This decision is the result of profound differences between Michelin's long-standing sporting philosophy and the way Formula One is managed by the regulating authorities," said chief executive Edouard Michelin.

"The differences no longer provide a clear and sustainable environment to justify long-term investments.

A single supplier will undoubtedly make Formula One fairer, safer and less expensive for the teams
FIA statement

"For Michelin, leaving Formula One in no way represents abandoning motorsports, to which the Michelin brand has been committed for 117 years.

"If Formula One's ways of functioning were to be significantly modified, Michelin would not hesitate in proposing its services to the different teams once again."

Michelin joined Formula One in 2001 and supplied five of the then 11 teams, Williams, Benetton, Jaguar, Minardi and Prost.

It has increased its share of the grid to seven teams but was left behind as Bridgestone and Ferrari dominated in 2004.

But Bridgestone struggled this year after rule changes forced teams to make tyres last for both qualifying and the race.

However, tyre changes are set to be brought back in 2006.

Fans at the US Grand Prix
Fans showed their displeasure at the US Grand Prix

Michelin fell out with the FIA in June after the seven teams they supply withdrew from the US Grand Prix after the warm-up lap because of safety fears.

And recently Williams and Toyota have decided to leave Michelin for Bridgestone.

Honda, Red Bull, Renault, McLaren and Scuderia Toro Rosso are the teams that will now have to negotiate contracts with Bridgestone for 2007.

But Michelin added: "No matter what, Michelin will do everything possible to ensure that its partners receive the best service and the best tyres to help them win during the 2006 season."

The FIA welcomed the move to a single tyre manufacturer.

"The competing teams have unanimously requested the FIA to impose a single tyre supplier," said a spokesman.

"A single supplier will undoubtedly make Formula One fairer, safer and less expensive for the teams.

"But above all it will avoid a repetition of the problems which arose at the 2005 US Grand Prix."

BAR Honda's chief executive Nick Fry said: "Whilst we believe that Michelin's departure will be a sad loss for the sport, we understand their reasons.

"We thank Michelin for the contribution it has made to our team and we look forward to working with the company for one final year."





SEE ALSO
Toyota sign Bridgestone contract
11 Nov 05 |  Formula One
Michelin attacks new tyre rules
28 Oct 05 |  Formula One
FIA hits out in Michelin tyre row
11 Sep 05 |  Formula One
Williams to switch to Bridgestone
10 Sep 05 |  Formula One
Michelin pays up for US GP farce
09 Aug 05 |  Formula One
Michelin teams exonerated on Indy
22 Jul 05 |  Formula One
Michelin refunds Indy race fans
15 Jul 05 |  Formula One
Seven teams boycott US Grand Prix
19 Jun 05 |  Formula One


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