Doubts over Bridgestone legality quashed
|By Jonathan Noble
||Sunday, September 10th 2006, 18:39 GMT
Renault and Michelin approached the FIA after today's race at Monza with doubts about the legality of Ferrari's Bridgestone tyres, autosport.com has learned, but the French team and tyre maker said they were content with the governing body's explanations.
While the Formula One world was focused on Michael Schumacher's retirement announcement, representatives from Renault and Michelin went to see FIA technical delegate Charlie Whiting with questions about Bridgestone.
Renault's director of engineering Pat Symonds and Michelin's F1 director Nick Shorrock had suspicions that Bridgestone may have treated their tyres with chemicals at events.
Applying chemical spray to tyres could make a tyre super sticky for improved grip over one lap before wearing off to reveal hard rubber that would be better suited for long distances.
Such an action, however, would be in breach of Article 73B of the Formula One sporting regulations that states:
"Each tyre supplier must undertake to provide no more than two specifications of dry-weather tyre to each team at each Event, each of which must be of one homogeneous compound. Any modification or treatment, other than heating, carried out to a tyre or tyres will be considered a change of specification."
According to sources, Symonds and Shorrock's suspicions were raised by a photograph of a Bridgestone tyre engineer that had been obtained by Michelin.
The picture showed an engineer wearing a glove, protective apron and face-mask - the type of gear that would be worn when dealing with chemical spray.
But after speaking to Whiting today, the matter was quickly resolved. It was explained that the engineer was wearing the items to protect himself from chemical rubber particles released into the air when tyres are cut open for post-session internal inspection.
Shorrock said they were content with the explanation.
"We asked some questions about what was happening," he told autosport.com. "We are happy with the explanation, so the situation is settled for now."