Tyre rule could cause trouble

The FIA has issued a letter to the Formula One teams in which it states a reminder of the trye tread width and says that tyres will now be measured after the race as well as before it. The tread width on front tyres is 270mm and the FIA is not ...

The FIA has issued a letter to the Formula One teams in which it states a reminder of the trye tread width and says that tyres will now be measured after the race as well as before it. The tread width on front tyres is 270mm and the FIA is not actually pointing the finger of blame at either manufacturer in this instance, but does feel a need to underline this particular rule.

Bridgestone has not commented on this move to measure tyres after the race but Michelin has released a statement saying it expects 'some difficulties' with the ruling. Its tyres conform to the FIA standards but the manufacturer would like further discussion in regard to the new situation.

"The procedure to measure the width of a contact patch as required now is unknown at the moment, which prevents any further work," it said in the statement. "We can expect some difficulties in the definition since a tyre in its use can be in systematic contact with various 'objects', for example curbs, which, according to their profile and position, can touch up as far as the middle of the side walls."

"All Michelin's partners are concerned by this regulation change, as they all use the same front tyre profile."

Michelin is currently enjoying a high rate of success with its partner teams while Bridgestone is struggling. Why the FIA has decided to be strict about this rule is unclear but reportedly Bridgestone lodged a complaint after the Hungarian Grand Prix that the Michelin tyre width increased to illegal proportions when the tread wore down.

Williams chief operations engineer Sam Michael told Autosport: "The FIA have changed the way they measure the front tyre contact patch. They will now be measuring the contact patch new as well as worn. We are reviewing the consequences of that."

If Michelin suffers from this new measurement ruling in some way, it could have an effect on the championship in the final three races as the manufacturer could have to build new tyres as early as Monza -- which is not possible in the two weeks available. Michelin argues that its current tyres have been legal since they were introduced in 2001.

Motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier went so far as to say its partner teams may not even be able to race at Monza. "It is possible that the five teams using Michelin tyres will not turn up at Monza," he said, according to the Telegraph newspaper. "Our partners would have to spend a lot of money without any guarantee that they would not be disqualified. It is up to them to decide but we know that we cannot make a new tyre in time because it would take a few weeks to design and build it."

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Series Formula 1
Teams Williams