Michelin Might Fly In New Tyres

Michelin is considering flying in brand new tyres to the United States Grand Prix as a safety precaution after failing to get to the bottom of the tyre problems that marred their opening day of practice

Michelin Might Fly In New Tyres

Following a spate of tyre failures on Friday, including Ralf Schumacher's high-speed crash into the wall at the final corner that has put him out of action for this weekend, Michelin spent the night trying to understand the causes of the problem.

And after failing to come up with an answer as to the dramas, Michelin advised its runners on vital set-up changes needed in the way the tyres should be run to guarantee no further problems in practice - which some teams were unable to complete before the end of Saturday morning's free practice session.

That left just two Michelin runners able to complete times in the third free practice session - and the French tyre manufacturer has admitted it is considering bringing in new specification tyres because of continued fears over safety.

Flying in new tyres would need special dispensation from the FIA because the current rules means tyres have to be nominated prior to a weekend - and cars have to run on exactly the same set of tyres for qualifying and the race. It would also likely need agreement from all the teams.

A statement from Michelin said: "Following the incidents of yesterday Michelin has controlled all the tyres that ran during the session of yesterday morning and afternoon. Despite all the checks that we have done both here and in our test facilities in Clermont-Ferrand we have not been able to understand or reproduce the problem of yesterday.

"We have explained the situation to our partners and to the FIA and we have advised on the conditions for tests, qualifying and for the race tomorrow. These decisions have been taken in the interest of the safety of the drivers.

"We have been working with our people in Clermont-Ferrand in order to identify a product that we know is also capable of running at Indianapolis and we are in a process of discussing this possibility with the FIA and are actively pursuing the dispatch of these tyres to Indianapolis."

The tyre problems suffered by Michelin have no doubt been caused in part by the newly resurfaced asphalt on the oval section of the track, which has been made extra abrasive by diamond grinding.

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Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble
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