Michelin Wary of Sauber's Relationship with Ferrari

Sauber may have restricted access to confidential material provided by Michelin, due to their ties with rivals Ferrari and the Italian's tyre suppliers Bridgestone.

Michelin Wary of Sauber's Relationship with Ferrari

Sauber may have restricted access to confidential material provided by Michelin, due to their ties with rivals Ferrari and the Italian's tyre suppliers Bridgestone.

Sauber announced earlier this month that they have switched to Michelin tyres for the 2005 season. But the Swiss team works closely with Ferrari, who provide them with engines and gearboxes, and concerns have been raised that the relationship between Sauber and Ferrari may inadvertently - and not even with intent - lead to confidential information reaching Michelin's rivals Bridgestone.

Michelin's head of the competition department Pierre Dupasquier told Atlas F1 the French company is aware of these concerns and will take them under consideration in establishing the level of collaboration with Sauber in 2005.

"We are keeping that in mind," Dupasquier said, in an exclusive interview published this week. "But we have not yet defined the level of advanced technology we will provide Sauber. We will give them all our support on the tyres, of course, but as far as development goes, it depends.

"We're prepared to do anything that has to be done [to support Sauber], but at the same time...since they have a very privileged relationship with Ferrari - at least in 2005 - we will evaluate that situation carefully."

Dupasquier said the contract with Sauber has not yet been signed and the two companies have so far reached "a gentleman's agreement".

"We did not finalise the contract yet, in all details and in writing," the Frenchman said, adding that one of the possible conditions might be that Sauber "may not be allowed to test with Ferrari in Fiorano privately anymore."

Read the interview with Pierre Dupasquier in this week's Atlas F1 Magazine issue

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