Bridgestone claims proof of tyre trouble

Bridgestone claims proof of tyre trouble

Bridgestone motorsport director Hiroshi Yasukawa claims to have proof that the Michelin tyres exceed the FIA 270 mm rule after use said no complaint was lodged earlier in the season as proof was not available before. Bridgestone's partner team ...

Bridgestone motorsport director Hiroshi Yasukawa claims to have proof that the Michelin tyres exceed the FIA 270 mm rule after use said no complaint was lodged earlier in the season as proof was not available before. Bridgestone's partner team Ferrari raised the matter of Michelin tyres with the FIA after the Hungarian Grand Prix when the manufacturer presented the team with photographic evidence.

Michelin tires.
Photo by Brousseau Photo.
"We have the proof, because the front tyre contact patch of the Williams is 286 mm, 16 more than what is allowed by the rules," said Yasukawa during Monza testing this week. "Personally, I was suspicious, but we didn't say anything because we didn't have any proof. We would have reacted before that but we didn't have any proof until now."

Michelin argues that its tyres have been deemed legal since they were introduced in 2001 but there has been a flurry of activity at Monza this week as Michelin's partner teams test a narrower tyre in preparation for the Italian Grand Prix. Motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier wants clarification of exactly how the FIA will go about measuring tyres after a race. "It'll be almost impossible," he said. "A tyre deforms, gathers pick-up…"

A spokesperson for the FIA commented: "The rules are not concerned with parts of the tyre which make occasional contact with the track or kerbs, but parts which are in regular or systematic contact with the track and thus constitute tread." He added that tyres would either conform to the 270 mm rule or not and if they exceeded that width it would be up to the stewards -- or the FIA if necessary -- to decide the outcome.

It's been reported that Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn said the team is looking at other records to try and establish how long Michelin has been using the alleged illegal tyres.

"There is a facility within the regulations to investigate any matter if previously unknown information becomes available," Brawn told Autosport. "It's not what we want but Ferrari are very angry and frustrated as it is now clear that a large number of the Michelin teams were running illegal tyres for a considerable amount of time -- and we don't know for how long yet."

Bridgestone's head of tyre development Hirohide Hamashima recognised that there would be "some sceptics about the timing" of the complaint and took a less accusative stance: "Bridgestone has always tried to comply fully with the regulations and consequently the tread width of our tyres does not exceed 270mm either at a standstill or when running," he said. "However, it seems our rivals have a different interpretation of the regulations and we therefore welcome the FIA's clarification on the matter."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Ross Brawn , Hiroshi Yasukawa
Teams Ferrari , Williams