FIA Rejects Chicane Idea

Motor racing's governing body has rejected requests from Michelin teams to construct a chicane before the last turn at the Indianapolis circuit in a bid to lower speeds, stating the problems faced by the teams are "performance problems" that they can solve themselves

FIA Rejects Chicane Idea

On the back of the concerns about the safety of Michelin's tyres in the wake of Ralf Schumacher's practice accidents, Michelin wrote to FIA race director Charlie Whiting requesting a means of limiting speed through Turn 13 with the use of a chicane.

But the FIA has said to make such a move because the tyre company failed to bring suitable tyres would be wrong - and has further indicated that teams must follow Michelin's advice and lower their speeds through the turn themselves.

In a letter from Whiting to Michelin, he said: "No doubt you will inform your teams what is the maximum safe speed for their cars in Turn 13. We will remind them of the need to follow your advice for safety reasons. We will also ask them to ensure their cars do not obstruct other competitors."

Whiting further stated that a request to alter the circuit layout was ill-placed, rejecting the suggestion that the FIA ought to find a solution because of safety reasons.

"It has been suggested that a chicane should be laid out in Turn 13," Whiting writes. "I am sure you will appreciate that this is out of the question. To change the course in order to help some of the teams with a performance problem caused by their failure to bring suitable equipment to the race would be a breach of the rules and grossly unfair to those teams which have come to Indianapolis with the correct tyres."

Whiting emphasized that teams have a means of ensuring the safety of their drivers by following Michelin's maximum speed guidelines as well as changing tyres when these are deemed unsafe. He also did not rule out the possiblity of teams using newly flown tyres.

According to Whiting's letter, teams choosing to run new tyres flown in to Indianapolis will be breaking the regulations - although there is a possibility teams can keep changing their current specification of tyres during the race if they feel there are safety concerns.

"Some of the teams have raised with us the possibility of running a tyre which was not used in qualifying," he continued. "We have told them this would be a breach of the rules to be considered by the stewards. We believe the penalty would not be exclusion but would have to be heavy enough to ensure that no team was tempted to use qualifying tyres in the future.

"Another possibility would be for the relevant teams repeatedly to change the affected tyre during the race (we understand you have told your teams the left rear is safe for a maximum of ten laps at full speed). If the technical delegate and the stewards were satisfied that each change was made because the tyre would otherwise fail (thus for genuine safety reasons) and that the relevant team were not gaining an advantage, there would be no penalty.

"If this meant using tyres additional to a teams' allocation, the stewards would consider all the circumstances in deciding what penalty, if any, to apply."

The teams will now have to decide for themselves whether to take part in this afternoon's race, with Renault boss Flavio Briatore saying on Saturday that he would pull his team out of the race if they could not run the new tyres.

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