Motor racing: Schumacher `violated tyre regulations'

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The Independent Online
A technical officer at the Canadian Grand Prix has said that Michael Schumacher, who won the race, had exceeded his quota of tyres in qualifying and during the race, but the victory was allowed to stand because a form had not been properly filled out.

Giorgio Toso, a technical official, told Montreal La Presse that Schumacher used 31 tyres - three more than the total permitted - in Saturday's qualifying for Sunday's race. Officials from FIA, Formula One's governing body, overlooked the violation because some of the tyres Schumacher used on his Ferrari were incorrectly entered by race inspectors on the tyre forms, Toso said.

"Ferrari must have found a good explanation or else there was an unwritten agreement between the teams, knowing all the tyres were fragile," Toso said.

Each Formula One car has 36 tyres stamped in its name on the Friday before a race. Before qualifying begins on Saturday, each driver must select 28 tyres for use in qualifying and the race.

Toso, a Canadian of Italian origin who is a Ferrari fan, said his inspectors were certain they counted 31 tyres used by Schumacher. However, some were entered in the wrong column on the form.

During the race, Schumacher made three pit stops for tyre changes instead of the scheduled two. The German driver won because he was leading when the race was stopped on the 54th lap after the Frenchman Olivier Panis crashed, fracturing both legs.

Most of the 22 drivers in the Canadian Grand Prix had trouble with blistering to their tyres. Competition between manufacturers has produced very fast tyres that none the less have been coming apart on the track at the last two races, in Barcelona and Montreal.

The FIA president, Max Mosley, has repeated his determination to put the brakes on Formula One's speed machines following Panis's serious accident. Mosley has welcomed the introduction of tight, new safety measures which will take effect from next season.

Panis continues to recover after undergoing surgery to repair two broken legs shattered by the 150mph crash. He was trapped in the wreckage of his car for seven minutes before rescuers lifted him clear, his Prost- Mugen-Honda having hit a tyre barrier.