With all the invective that has washed back and forth between concerned parties since the Michelin tyre row erupted at the Hungarian Grand Prix, it was perhaps inevitable that the subject returned with a vengeance in the Friday press conference at Monza.

With Bridgestone runner Ross Brawn squaring up to three Michelin-shod rivals in Ron Dennis, Frank Williams and Flavio Briatore, it was almost as if the FIA - which declared the matter closed in its midweek press statement - had planned the confrontation to produce copy for the media.....

While all three Michelin runners accepted the situation that has forced them to run a revised Michelin front tyre at the Italian Grand Prix, they were, to a man, curious why Ferrari and Bridgestone had waited in excess of two seasons to raise their concerns.

"Why did you wait for 38 races before raising this point, if you had this view all the time?" Head asked of the Ferrari technical director, "It seemed an odd time to raise it..."

Brawn retorted by claiming that the tyre in question had been introduced at Monaco - a race won by Williams and Juan Montoya - to which Head reconfirmed that similarly sized tyres had been in use for some time longer.

"It's exactly the same mould that appeared in 2001 at Imola," the Williams man insisted.

Brawn the pointed out that the current regulations allow for a number of tyres to be brought to each grand prix, and that different teams may use different types - and sizes - of tyre.

"Renault used different tyres to you, Patrick," he replied, suggesting a solid knowledge of the French company's products, "There's a range of Michelins being used in Formula One."

He then went on to claim that the matter had initially been raised by Bridgestone, which had only taken the matter to the FIA once it had obtained photographic evidence with which to back up its argument.

"We weren't aware of the problem, so any suggestion that we had timed it is inaccurate," Brawn insisted, "Bridgestone is an extremely ethical company, and they were aware of this problem for some time. They were troubled with how to deal with it, and they came to us after the race in Hungary, bringing photographs of the tyre, and we asked Charlie for an explanation. He said to us that he wanted to investigate it because he didn't understand it either."

Head then challenged Brawn to deny that the matter had been raised at a private meeting between the FIA and Ferrari at Maranello - something the Ferrari man attempted to do by changing the subject.

"As we know, paranoia runs rife in Formula One," he began, "That meeting was set up weeks ago and was a meeting to discuss our business in Formula One. It's not uncommon for us to have meetings with the FIA to discuss things. In fact, we were asked not to discuss the tyres with Max and Charlie when they came, because they said they were dealing with it."

Brawn later all but disowned a quote in the British motorsport media in which he was alleged to have said that the Michelin runners were 'circumventing the rules' and running 'illegal' tyres, claiming that the matter came down to two parties taking different emphasis from a vague rulebook.

"I don't believe for a minute that Michelin were trying to bypass the regulations," he stressed, "They obviously had an interpretation of what they felt was acceptable for the tyre and they are not a company that are going to do something that they knowingly know to be in breach of the regulations.

"We [said] earlier that we would all like black-and-white regulations and, depending at which direction you come at a regulation from, you can take a certain interpretation. Obviously, our interpretation was not that the tread was constrained by only being measured when new. With the construction of the regulation, I can understand how someone may wish to interpret it that way. So, we had an interpretation which was obviously different to the Michelin teams."

Asked whether he would have protested Ferrari or Bridgestone had the shoe been on the other foot, Dennis admitted that he would, claiming that the furore was aimed at disrupting a title rival's championship challenge.



Loading Comments...