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Michelin Critical of Single Tyre Proposal

Michelin motorsports director Pierre Dupasquier has re-iterated his company's opposition to a possible switch to a single tyre supplier in Formula One

With the sport's governing body and the teams having met earlier this week to discuss regulations for F1 from the start of 2008, Dupasquier has warned that Michelin would likely quit the sport if control tyres were introduced.

In a statement issued by Michelin, Dupasquier said: "This proposal to work with a single tyre manufacturer in reality conceals a fundamental issue: the reduction of the role of the tyre to that of a banal component with no other added value than permitting Formula One cars to be mobile.

"As the world's leading tyre manufacturer, that is something we cannot accept. In day to day life, road car and truck manufacturers are forever coming to us with a view to developing new tyres that optimise the running, comfort, road holding and energy efficiency of their vehicles, while in Formula One, a technological showcase if ever there was one, you're talking about tyres becoming something banal.

"That would make no sense at all for our customers and for the image of the tyre. When you are the leading tyre manufacturer, you have a responsibility vis-?-vis your profession, or in any case a responsibility as we see it at Michelin."

Although Dupasquier acknowledges that the aim of a control tyre regulations would be to reduce costs, improve safety by reducing performance and ensure a more level playing field between teams, he believes regulations could be formulated to achieve those targets and allow multiple tyre manufacturers in the sport.

"We have two proposals for bringing down costs: fewer tyre types and restrictions concerning the distances covered in testing," he added. "At 800 dollars per kilometre covered in testing, that soon adds up to an appreciable saving. You could reasonably reduce the distance covered annually by each team by 20,000 km. Multiply that by ten teams, that comes to 200,000 km; a saving to F1 of 160 million dollars!

"This is something we have already put into application with another tyre manufacturer in world rallying."

Dupasquier claims that recent tyre problems suffered by NASCAR at Pocono proved that safety was not necessarily improved in control tyre series, while equality could not be guaranteed because even control tyres could be developed in such a way to suit one team's chassis over another.

"To be honest, I think the presence of a single tyre manufacturer would do nothing at all to improve the interest of the racing."

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