Two of Michelin's partner teams, McLaren and Williams, have met with the FIA's technical delegate Charlie Whiting to discuss the recent revision of the tyre rules. After a complaint by Ferrari, which claims Michelin's tyres are illegal after use,...
Two of Michelin's partner teams, McLaren and Williams, have met with the FIA's technical delegate Charlie Whiting to discuss the recent revision of the tyre rules. After a complaint by Ferrari, which claims Michelin's tyres are illegal after use, the FIA decided tyres will be measured after a race as well as before it to make sure the rubber conforms to the 270 mm width rule.
While Michelin refutes Ferrari's claims, the French manufacturer is trying to comply with the FIA and has been testing new tyres at Monza but thinks not enough time has been given to meet the change of regulations. Title contenders McLaren and Williams are in a quandary whether to use the same tyres they have been all season and risk illegality, or use a new tyre and perhaps be in the same situation.
"Potentially, this whole affair is throwing the world championship out of the window for both of us," McLaren managing director Martin Whitmarsh told the Guardian newspaper. "We talked at length to Charlie but there is still a considerable concern about the issue of approving the tyres' conformity at the end of the race, even though Michelin have produced some new rubber which we tested at Monza last week."
"Put simply, we can either use the existing tyres and risk not conforming with these revised rule interpretations or we can use new tyres and still risk being illegal despite a loss of performance. Michelin has done a great job, but the changes in set-up we have had to make -- to toe-in, camber and tyre pressures -- have not worked to our advantage."
Many feel that Ferrari's actions in the matter are a case of sour grapes as the team has been struggling in the last few races. Principal Jean Todt claims this is not so, and had the situation been reversed Michelin would have done the same thing. This is probably true but the only Bridgestone team that would benefit from the rule change is Ferrari -- none of the other Bridgestone teams have challenged the Michelin teams' results but Sauber, Jordan, BAR and Minardi are not in the title fight.