Michelin ditches Formula One

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The Independent Online

Michelin is ending its involvement with Formula One racing after the 2006 season following a decision by the organising body to prefer only one tyre supplier, the French group said yesterday. This leaves Bridgestone of Japan as the single supplier.

"This decision is the result of the realisation that there is profound disagreement between the sport's philosophy that has always been driving Michelin and the management practices of the F1 authorities," said the head of the company, Edouard Michelin.

Michelin supplies seven of the 10 Formula One teams and Bridgestone the rest. In 2006 they will have an equal split as Williams and Toyota are leaving Michelin. The tyre maker clashed with the FIA, the sport's governing body over the US Grand Prix fiasco in June when its seven teams failed to start due to tyre safety concerns at Indianapolis. Michelin said it could return if the rules were changed "profoundly".

* Vodafone is switching its Formula One sponsorship from Ferrari to McLaren in 2007.