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Michelin Chairman Rebukes Mosley

Michelin chairman Edouard Michelin has rebuked Max Mosley, head of Formula One's governing body, for "erroneous" allegations about the tyre company after the US Grand Prix fiasco

"I feel necessary to let you know how discontented I was of both the nature of your contentions - which are based on mere allegations - and the suspicious and inappropriate tone employed," he said in a letter to the FIA president.

A copy of the letter, sent also to the seven Formula One teams that use Michelin tyres, was obtained by Reuters on Tuesday.

It comes a day before the seven teams - Championship leaders Renault, McLaren, Williams, Toyota, Sauber, Red Bull and BAR - appear before the FIA's world motor sport council in Paris to answer charges of bringing the sport into disrepute.

If found guilty, they could face heavy sanctions.

None took part in the June 19 race at Indianapolis, which ended up with just six cars, after Michelin said they could not guarantee the safety of the tyres.

Michelin, who spoke to Mosley by telephone after the fiasco, said the company was "very disappointed about the way the United States Grand Prix turned out.

"However, safety is and has always been the first priority for Michelin. It will never change its stance on this principle, whether for tyres for competition or any other purpose."

Damaging Consequences

The chairman noted that a fax sent by Mosley to Michelin motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier on June 21, and also forwarded to him, had been subsequently circulated widely to the press and on the internet.

"Such disclosure, which contains erroneous allegations, may have damaging consequences on Michelin's reputation," he said.

Michelin accused Mosley of repeatedly blaming the company in the press, directly or indirectly.

"Will you at least recognise publicly that we have taken a courageous, honest and transparent stance for the safety of the pilots (drivers)?," he asked in the letter.

"I hope you will be fair enough to acknowledge that Michelin, with its seven partner teams, IMS (Indianapolis Motor Speedway), FOM (Formula One Management) and two other teams, did the maximum to preserve a true and safe race by proposing a very serious and pragmatic alternative.

"This is all the opposite of a boycott," he added.

The teams had asked for a temporary chicane to be installed at Indianapolis, a request rejected by the FIA.

They suggested instead that Michelin-shod drivers take the corner at reduced speed, use the pitlane or come in repeatedly for a change of tyres.

Michelin confirmed that Michelin's own investigations had shown that the loads exerted on rear left tyres through the circuit's Turn 13 were far greater than the highest estimates of the company's engineers.

"Contrary to what is alluded in your publicised telefax, there is no reason to worry about the fundamental reliability of Michelin," he told Mosley.

"I can confirm that Michelin will be present with safe and competitive tyres at the forthcoming Grand Prix races."

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