Minardi to report Bridgestone to FIA

Minardi is to make a formal complaint to the FIA about the conduct of Bridgestone Motorsport, which has not supplied the Anglo-Italian F1 team with tyres for its tests at Valencia, Spain, this week. Minardi, which has been using Avon F3000 'slicks', raced in 2002 on Michelin tyres but wants to switch this season to the Japanese supplier. The team says that Bridgestone is in breach of the F1 Sporting Regulations

Minardi to report Bridgestone to FIA

Team principal Paul Stoddart said yesterday evening: "It is with great regret that, yet again, Minardi is forced to deal with the fact that Bridgestone has chosen not to supply the team with tyres at Valencia today. Sadly, we are now left with no choice but to make an official complaint to the FIA, as we believe Bridgestone is in clear breach of its obligations under the regulations."

The rules state that each F1 tyre supplier must be willing to supply up to 60 percent of the field (currently six teams) on 'ordinary commercial terms'. Bridgestone is committed to BAR, Ferrari, Jordan, Sauber and Toyota, while Michelin is supplying Jaguar, McLaren, Renault and Williams.

Stoddart continued: "It was only when I got to the [Valencia] track that I received notification that Bridgestone wanted a seven-figure deposit before supplying any tyres at all. I don't know what other teams are doing, but I don't think that a seven-figure deposit amounts to ordinary commercial terms.

"After three-and-a-half months of trying to negotiate an agreement, I think the situation can best be summed up by the fact that, not once during this time, despite repeated attempts, have I been able either to arrange a meeting, or even to speak with the Bridgestone Motorsport director, Hiroshi Yasukawa. I simply cannot believe that a company of Bridgestone's standing could treat any customer in this way. Unfortunately, because of Bridgestone's total lack of communication and cooperation over this matter, we have wasted two valuable days of pre-season testing here in Valencia - something that, in the current climate, Minardi could ill afford to do."

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