Michelin: Risk will Never be an Option

Michelin motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier said on Friday his company and their partners would never take any chances with drivers' safety

Michelin: Risk will Never be an Option

"We always make sure we don't perceive any beginning of a problem," Dupasquier told a news conference ahead of Sunday's French Grand Prix.

"We will never say 'it may work, let's see if the driver makes it back to the pitlane'", he said.

"If there is a doubt, we do not do it. We don't say 'let's give it a try!'. No way!"

A row erupted at the US Grand Prix on June 19 when all seven teams equipped with Michelin tyres withdrew from the race on safety reasons.

The French company acknowledged they were at the origin of the problem and advised their partners - BAR, Red Bull, Renault, McLaren, Toyota, Williams and Sauber - not to take part in the race.

Seven-times World Champion Michael Schumacher won the race in a Ferrari one-two finish after only six cars started.

The Italian team's boss Jean Todt told the joint news conference that only two things could have overturned the situation.

"First of all, the problem is clear. Our opponents were facing an unprepared situation. So the only way for them to solve the problem was to have brought different tyres or go into the pitlane more often to change them," he said.

Todt said the installation of a chicane to slow cars down at turn 13 which the boycotting teams at Indianapolis had asked for was not an option.

"The chicane would have raised too many problems," he said.

Bridgestone motorsport director, Japanese Hiroshi Yasukawa, echoed Dupasquier's point of view.

"We check the safety issues and only then do we start our discussions with the teams," said Yasukawa. "Anyhow, safety is always the first issue."

Todt, whose team are equipped with Bridgestone tyres, said the Scuderia had already made tyres compromises in order to protect the drivers' safety.

"Bridgestone, together with Ferrari, have decided to favour safety over performance," said the Frenchman.

"At the Nurburgring (European GP), we made a compromise since we did not choose the fastest tyres but tyres which we were sure would go all the way."

Michelin said they would refund the Indianapolis spectators and buy 20,000 tickets for next year's US Grand Prix.

"We were at the origin of a mess so we felt it was polite to apologise and refund the people. Our people in the USA are taking good care of this," said Dupasquier.

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Series Formula 1
Author Julien Pretot
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