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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 June, 2005, 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK
Michelin offers refund to US fans
US F1 fans were left angered by the show put on at the US Grand Prix
Michelin has offered to refund the 120,000 spectators who bought tickets for the farcical US Grand Prix.

The tyre company also offered to buy 20,000 tickets for the 2006 US Grand Prix to be given to this year's fans.

Michelin made the offer just hours before Wednesday's disciplinary hearing involving the seven teams that refused to race over safety concerns.

They were found guilty on two of the five charges of bringing the sport into disrepute, but have yet to be punished.

A company statement read: "Michelin deeply regrets that the public was deprived of an exciting race and therefore wishes to be the first, among the different groups involved in the race, to make a strong gesture towards the spectators.

"This is an important decision, since Michelin is not at all legally bound to do this."

The Michelin gesture may reduce the risk of the teams - championship leaders Renault, McLaren, Williams, Toyota, Sauber, Red Bull and BAR - being heavily sanctioned by Formula One's governing body, the FIA.

The governing body will always win
Max Mosley, FIA president

Meanwhile, company chairman Edouard Michelin has contacted FIA president Max Mosley to complain about comments he made in the wake of the Indianapolis fiasco.

He acted after a fax Mosley sent to the company was subsequently circulated to the press.

Michelin claims Mosley's comments had a "suspicious and inappropriate tone". "Such disclosure, which contains erroneous allegations, may have damaging consequences on Michelin's reputation," he wrote.

"Will you at least recognise publicly that we have taken a courageous, honest and transparent stance for the safety of the pilots (drivers)?," he asked in the letter.

"I hope you will be fair enough to acknowledge that Michelin, with its seven partner teams... did the maximum to preserve a true and safe race by proposing a very serious and pragmatic alternative.

"This is all the opposite of a boycott," he added.

He said the company was "very disappointed about the way the United States Grand Prix turned out" but added "safety is and has always been the first priority for Michelin".

But in a reply published on Wednesday, Mosley rejected Michelin's comments.

"We cannot agree with your claim that Michelin did the maximum to preserve a true and safe race," Mosley wrote.

"You failed to bring a back-up tyre to the event and your representatives apparently refused to countenance any solution other than a chicane. Anyone with knowledge of the International Sporting Code or an appresiation of the legal climate in the United States would know that a chicane was never an option."


WATCH AND LISTEN
Report: BBC Radio Five Live's Mike Sewell




SEE ALSO
Fans launch legal action over GP
21 Jun 05 |  Formula One
Indianapolis unsure of F1 future
20 Jun 05 |  Formula One
Seven teams boycott US Grand Prix
19 Jun 05 |  Formula One
Schumacher claims farcical US win
19 Jun 05 |  Formula One
US Grand Prix as it happened
19 Jun 05 |  Formula One


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