Michelin teams to appeal over FIA verdict

Caring too much about safety is apparently tantamount to acts prejudicial to the good name of Formula One, even though Max Mosley, the president of the sport's governing body, the FIA, has been proselytising so much on the subject in recent months to the point of bullying through a reduction in engine capacity for 2006.

That was the curious message emanating from the portals of the the FIA in Paris yesterday, as the seven Michelin teams – Renault, McLaren, Toyota, Williams, Red Bull, Sauber and BAR were found guilty by the FIA World Motor Sport Council of wrongfully refusing to compete in the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis. All seven did not participate specifically because the tyre manufacturer had told them their tyres were not safe without an agreed reduction in speed through the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's banked Turn 13.

The council declared the teams guilty of failing to ensure that they were in possession of suitable tyres for the race, but with strong, mitigating circumstances; guilty of wrongfully refusing to allow their cars to start the race; not guilty of refusing to race subject to a speed restriction, having regard to the absence of any detailed plan for this; not guilty of combining to make a demonstration for the reason that they had hoped to race until the last minute; not guilty of failing to inform the stewards of their intention not to start for the same reason.

There had been fears that each team would be banned for a race (each ban to be taken separately to avoid a repeat of Indianapolis). Or that BAR-Honda, already on a suspended ban after a fuel ballast infringement, might be thrown out of the championship altogether. Instead, the fact that the council deferred discussion of possible penalties until an extraordinary meeting is held on 14 September, has been hailed as a climbdown dressed up as a Sword of Damocles by the FIA.

After the hearing Mosley explained that the delay in making decisions on penalties was due to the need to assess what steps have been taken by the seven Michelin teams and/or Michelin to compensate fans and repair the damage to the reputation of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and to the image of Formula One; and what steps have been taken by the Michelin teams to ensure that nothing similar ever happens again.

The paucity of this further underlined suggestions of a climbdown, since Michelin had only the previous evening declared their intention to compensate US GP ticket holders.

Hard questions remain unanswered, such as why the governing body did not ensure that the spectators at Indianapolis were not deprived of the sight of all 20 cars racing; or how any of the teams could be held responsible for Michelin's failure to provide suitable tyres, given that there are no other banked circuits on which they might have tested them. Nor did the FIA accept the slightest blame for its own role.

Prior to the hearings 19 drivers (excluding Ferrari's and Jordan's) signed a statement supporting the teams and outlining why they behaved as they did. It concluded: "All of us wanted to have a proper race at Indianapolis, one of motor racing's sacred venues, and to showcase F1 to the American public. We were all extremely disappointed that we were unable to do this."

Six of the teams found guilty said they intend to appeal – Red Bull are considering their options – but this weekend's French GP can proceed without hindrance, together with next week's British race, which is a sell-out. Perhaps a troubled sport can make some appeasement to its loyal fans, by staging similar races to the eight which preceded Indianapolis.

Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living