FIA moves to cancel guilty verdict on Michelin teams

At an FIA Senate meeting in Monaco on July 14th Formula One's governing body moved to cancel the guilty verdicts given to the seven Michelin teams by the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) hearing after Indianapolis. The Senate heard new evidence at...

At an FIA Senate meeting in Monaco on July 14th Formula One's governing body moved to cancel the guilty verdicts given to the seven Michelin teams by the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) hearing after Indianapolis. The Senate heard new evidence at the meeting and concluded that action against the teams was no longer appropriate.

The Michelin teams withdrew from the US Grand Prix after the manufacturer advised them not to race due to safety issues with the tyres. The teams complied, which left only six cars from the three Bridgestone teams, Ferrari, Jordan and Minardi, to 'compete' in front of the outraged fans. The Michelin teams were subsequently found guilty of not having suitable tyres and wrongly refusing to start the race.

BAR, McLaren, Renault, Sauber, Toyota and Williams were represented at the Monaco meeting by McLaren team principal Ron Dennis. Also present was Red Bull sporting director Christian Horner, whose team previously submitted a separate appeal on the two guilty charges.

"Having examined the new evidence and discussed it with Mr Dennis and Mr Horner, the Senate was satisfied that the teams were contractually bound to follow the instructions of their tyre supplier and that their tyre supplier had expressly prohibited them from racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in its licensed configuration," said a statement from the FIA.

"Recognising that for both sporting and legal reasons it was impossible for the FIA to authorise a change to the circuit configuration and that both the FIA and the teams could have faced serious legal difficulties in the United States had they not observed to the letter their respective rules and contractual obligations (particularly had there been any kind of accident), the Senate was of the view that having regard to this new evidence, disciplinary proceedings against the teams had ceased to be appropriate and were no longer in the interest of the sport."

"The Senate will therefore recommend to the World Motor Sport Council that the guilty verdict of 29 June against the teams be cancelled. It is anticipated that this recommendation will be put to the World Motor Sport Council by means of a fax vote in the next few days."

After the initial WMSC hearing any punishment against the Michelin teams was suspended until September 14th while the FIA assessed what steps were being taken to compensate the Indianapolis spectators and repair the damage done to F1. The Monaco meeting has effectively removed the threat of any sanctions against the teams, providing the WMSC accepts the recommendation, which should be just a formality.

In the last few days it appears that those involved have been attempting to heal the widening rift between most of teams and the FIA. Team members have been quoted as saying that they would rather resolve the differences in F1 than have a rival series, while the FIA has made allowances on technology restrictions for the future. Could it be that people are really making an effort to find a compromise?

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Series Formula 1
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Minardi , Jordan