Tyre talk gets heated in Monza meeting

The FIA press conference that pitched Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn face-to-face with his opposite number at Williams, Patrick Head, plus McLaren and Renault team principals Ron Dennis and Flavio Briatore, sparked a predictably fiery debate at Monza

Tyre talk gets heated in Monza meeting

Following the FIA's decision to measure the tread width of front tyres after grands prix as well as before, Michelin was forced to make a new tyre for the Italian GP. Commenting on Ferrari's desire to have the tyre regulations clarified, Brawn said: "Our interpretation was not that the tread was constrained by only being measured when it was new. Our interpretation was different to the Michelin teams."

At which Head interrupted: "But why did you wait 38 races? It's exactly the same mould as was used in 2001 at Imola."

Brawn replied: "Renault uses different tyres to you, Patrick. Bridgestone is very ethical and didn't raise it to our attention until after Hungary. They brought photos and said to us, 'can you explain it?' We asked [FIA technical delegate] Charlie [Whiting], who said he wanted to investigate it, and the consequence is what happened."

To which Head retorted: "I thought the consequence was a meeting with Max at Ferrari..."

This, of course, was a reference to the fact that FIA president Max Mosley visited Maranello on the day before the August 27 fax from the FIA revealing that tyres would be measured after the race for the balance of the year. According to Brawn, however, Mosley's visit had been scheduled some time in advance.

"There is a huge amount of paranoia in F1," he said. "We asked the governing body for a clarification and that is what we got. I don't think this is going to make a huge difference [to the world championship] but it's important to us to feel we were competing on a level playing field."

Paddock rumour at Monza, however, suggests that Ferrari could use Article 179b, concerning the right of review when subsequent information comes to light, to protest earlier Michelin wins.

Head reacted to such a possibility by suggesting that the public's patience with F1 would be dangerously tried in such a circumstance, while Dennis added his belief that even the previous specification Michelin tyres used by his team were fully legal anyway.

Asked about the possibility of Ferrari action, Brawn could only say: "There are these rumours. I don't think Ferrari has made its position clear and I think it's a decision that will be made above me. I guess Ferrari will make that position clear in the future."

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