Michelin upset at stolen tyre

Michelin is annoyed that the remains of Jenson Button's tyre that exploded at Spa was subsequently 'stolen' and, competitions chief Pierre Dupasquier fears, may have ended up in the hands of rivals, Bridgestone

Michelin upset at stolen tyre

At the end of the Belgian Grand Prix, the remnants of Button's tyre were apparently loaded onto the same recovery truck that returned Zsolt Baumgartner's Minardi to the pits. Allegedly, Button's tyre was mistakenly off-loaded at the same time as the parts that Minardi signed for in the pit lane. Minardi, off course, runs on Bridgestones.

A concerned Michelin technician, having returned empty-handed from the scene of Button's tyre failure, then urgently attempted to retrieve the remains of the tyre from the pit lane, but without success.

"Yes," Dupasquier confirmed at Monza, "I went to see Minardi and they said they didn't find anything and didn't know anything about it. But, we may have witnesses who know exactly what happened. We wouldn't be naming them unless asked to do so by lawyers...

"We are very annoyed about it," he went on. "It is a worry and it's not the end of the story yet." He admitted, however, that it is one of the risks of racing in public.

Dupasquier conceded that if the tyre had fallen into Bridgestone's hands, they have had plenty of time to assess Michelin's trade secrets.

A Bridgestone spokesman, meantime, responded: "There is no truth to any allegations that we have any knowledge of the remants of Jenson Button's Spa tyre."

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