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FIA Clarifies Flat-Spotted Tyres Policy

Formula One teams have been told that they will not be punished for changing flat-spotted tyres during races following the latest rule clarification from the FIA, Autosport-Atlas can reveal

So far teams have been racing under the belief that they are only allowed to change a tyre without penalty if the FIA race stewards deemed its condition to be dangerous.

This caused some unhappiness among teams because they claimed they were not sure about exactly what constituted a 'dangerous tyre.'

Autosport-Atlas has learned that the FIA have now reacted to the concerns of the teams and have sent a rule clarification to the teams that should end any doubts about the situation.

From now on, teams whose drivers are suffering from a flat-spotted tyre will be allowed to change that tyre without running the risk of a post-race punishment - although the tyre change cannot take place at a regular refueling stop.

An FIA spokesman confirmed the situation to Autosport-Atlas.
 
"The FIA will consider a single tyre which is flat-spotted during a race to be damaged," he said. "As a consequence it may be changed provided this is not done during a pitstop for the purposes of refuelling."

The problem over defining what a dangerous tyre is became a major issue after Kimi Raikkonen's late-race exit at the European Grand Prix.

His McLaren team claimed at the time that they were not sure whether the flat-spot that the Finn was suffering from was deemed dangerous enough to allow them to change it.

The flat-spot caused excessive vibrations through the car and eventually led to a wheel-bearing failure on the right front assembly, which caused the suspension to collapse and pitch him out of the race.

McLaren's F1 CEO Martin Whitmarsh told Autosport at the time that the team had been reluctant to change the tyre at the time because there was a lack of clarity from the FIA about what deemed a 'dangerous tyre'.

"We took a decision which obviously has created a precedent now, and which demonstrates how dangerous it is," he said. "Kimi acknowledged that he shouldn't have flat-spotted the tyre, but these regulations have given us a dilemma we would rather not have."

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