Michelin invests £1m in narrower F1 tyres

Michelin Motorsport in Clermont Ferrand is building new moulds to enable it to deliver narrower F1 tyres to Monza for the upcoming Italian GP, at a cost of more than £1m. The shoulders of the French company's current front tyres (40mm wider than the Bridgestone) are understood to wear during races with the effect of increasing the tread width beyond the 270mm maximum. Compliance, previously checked on new tyres by FIA inspectors, will henceforth be established on used rubber [Sep 1]

Michelin invests £1m in narrower F1 tyres

The decision has been reluctantly taken after Michelin F1 project manager Pierre Vasselon said yesterday: "Since our tyres have been considered legal up until now, there is no reason to change them. Above all, we question the change in the interpretation of the rules with the championship still under way."

A Michelin spokesman told today's The Times newspaper: "This tyre has been in use since 2001, [but] suddenly it's illegal. We need to be in a position where our teams can't be thrown out because of their tyres, so we've begun to construct new moulds. This is a major undertaking but we plan to have new tyres available at Monza."

It is unclear whether the new tyres will actually be needed at Monza but BMW WilliamsF1 chief operations engineer Sam Michael noted: "It is unlikely that any solution will come without a loss of performance."

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