FIA Ready to Cancel Indy Verdict

The seven Michelin Formula One teams who have been found guilty of damaging the sport over the Indianapolis tyre fiasco could have their convictions overturned within a matter of days, Autosport-Atlas can exclusively reveal

FIA Ready to Cancel Indy Verdict

The move, which would almost certainly bring a dramatic end to simmering political tensions in the sport ever since the events at the United States Grand Prix, is looking increasingly likely after high level sources revealed that an emergency FIA Senate hearing has been called for Thursday to listen to fresh evidence from the teams.

This evidence is due to be presented by McLaren boss Ron Dennis and Red Bull Racing sporting director Christian Horner at a meeting with FIA president Max Mosley in Monaco.

It is possible that if this evidence throws fresh light on the Indianapolis situation, the Senate could call for a fax vote of the World Motor Sport Council in order to decide whether to change the guilty verdicts handed down to the teams last month.

The FIA World Motor Sport Council previously found the seven Michelin teams guilty on two charges of bringing the sport into disrepute over the events at Indianapolis - in that they were not in possession of suitable tyres and that they wrongfully refused to start the race.

Although it is not clear exactly what new evidence Dennis and Horner will present to the FIA on Thursday, sources have revealed that its contents are almost certainly enough to prove that the teams had absolutely no option at Indianapolis but to withdraw from the race because Michelin's tyres were unsafe.

Mosley has made it clear several times that he believes Michelin were entirely to blame for the events at Indianapolis - although the fact that they are only a supplier to Formula One makes it impossible for the FIA to punish them.

"They (Michelin) are not the scapegoats, they are responsible," said Mosley last month. "They got the wrong tyres, and their teams could not race."

The teams have also maintained their stance that they had no choice but to not race in Indianapolis. In a statement issued on behalf of the teams after the guilty verdicts were handed out, they said any other course of action would have been irresponsible.

"The Teams explained to the World Motor Sport Council that, in the light of the clear and written advice from Michelin that it was unsafe to race at Indianapolis on the tyres supplied by that company, the Teams had no choice but to decline to race," said the statement.

"Any other decision would have been irresponsible. Nineteen of the current Formula One drivers have expressed their agreement with the decision of the Teams."

The teams were due to be sentenced in September for the two guilty charges, and had already appealed against the decision. There were fears that this future hearing could have a detrimental effect on Formula One's image and could escalate tensions, especially if the penalties handed down to the teams were harsh.

News of this fresh development to bring peace in F1 comes just 24 hours after Renault boss Flavio Briatore dismissed suggestions that the teams were plotting to overthrow Max Mosley.

"We have to make Formula One safer, more exciting and cheaper," he said. "For this we need a strong FIA president like Mosley to regulate things."

The FIA has refused to comment about the possibility of the Indianapolis convictions being dropped.

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Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble
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