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F1 governing body hits back at Michelin

September 11, 2005 18:50 IST

Formula One's governing body poured scorn on Michelin on Sunday after the French tyre company criticised plans to move to a single supplier in 2008.

Michelin chairman Edouard Michelin warned at a news conference at the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday that the company could quit Formula One at the end of next year and questioned the International Automobile Federation's (FIA) integrity and conduct.

"Mr Michelin should be aware that the (single tyre supplier) proposal did not come from the FIA but from all the competing teams, including all of Mr Michelin's teams," said the FIA in response.

"There are powerful arguments for a single tyre in Formula One. If Mr Michelin is not aware of these simple facts, he shows an almost comical lack of knowledge of modern Formula One."

Michelin and the FIA have been at loggerheads since the U.S. Grand Prix fiasco in June, which saw just six cars start the race after Michelin-equipped teams withdrew for tyre safety reasons.

Michelin, who have said they will refund U.S. race-day fans, were heavily blamed by the governing body and the FIA returned to that theme again on Sunday.

"He is clearly irritated that the FIA condemned Michelin's failure to provide suitable tyres for the 2005 United States Grand Prix," said the FIA.

"Mr Michelin should try to understand that no governing body, competitor or member of the paying public could be happy with a supplier which turned up with the wrong equipment and wrecked a major world championship event."

Michelin also raised concern about the tender process for any eventual single tyre supply contract, referring to the bids for the world touring car championship which went to rival brand Yokohama.

The FIA said there had been nothing untoward and Yokohama's success had nothing to do with the Indianapolis affair.

Michelin want continued competition between tyre suppliers in Formula One and say the FIA proposals go against the spirit of racing.

They say a single supplier is not the only way of reducing costs, a key argument in favour of the proposal, does not guarantee equality of treatment for teams and is against the interests of fans and broadcasters.

Michelin will supply five teams in 2006, with Williams and Toyota moving to Bridgestone although Toyota have yet to finalise a deal.

The French company's teams have won all but one race this year. Champions Ferrari, with Bridgestone, won in Indianapolis.

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