FIA puts Michelin teams in the clear

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The Independent Online

The teams - BAR-Honda, McLaren-Mercedes, Renault, Sauber-Petronas, Toyota and Williams-BMW - had provided the Senate with a dossier of new evidence relating to events at the US Grand Prix, in which only six Bridgestone-shod cars raced after all the Michelin cars pulled into the pits after the grid formation lap after tyre problems in practice. Ron Dennis, of McLaren, and Christian Horner, of Red Bull, were at the Senate meeting.

An FIA statement said: "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 prohibited them from racing.

"Recognising that for both sporting and legal reasons it was impossible for the FIA to authorise a change to the circuit and that both the FIA and the teams could have faced legal difficulties in the US had they not observed their respective rules and contractual obligations [particularly had there been an accident], the Senate was of the view that... disciplinary proceedings against the teams had...were no longer in the interest of the sport."

The Senate recommendation to the World Motor Sport Council that the guilty verdict of 29 June should be cancelled is seen as a victory for commonsense and a climbdown by the FIA president, Max Mosley.