Panasonic Toyota Racing
Joint Press Release From Six Michelin Teams
Renault F1 Team
Team McLaren Mercedes
Toyota Motorsport GmbH
Paris, France, Wednesday 29th June 2005
The six Formula One Michelin teams identified above are very disappointed by the decision of the World Motor Sport Council to find them guilty of two of the five charges brought against them by the FIA in relation to the 2005 U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis.
1) In relation to the finding that they failed to ensure that they were in possession of suitable tyres, the Teams point out that they reasonably relied on Michelin, an approved FIA tyre supplier and a highly reputable manufacturer of tyres worldwide, to provide suitable tyres for that race. As Michelin have already acknowledged, they were responsible for the supply of unsuitable tyres for the Indianapolis circuit. The FIA's decision accepts that there were "strong mitigating circumstances" for the Teams. In truth, those circumstances provided a complete answer to the charge, given that the Teams cannot be held responsible for what occurred.
2) In relation to the finding that the Teams wrongfully refused to allow their cars to start the race having regard to their right to use the pit lane on each lap, the Teams respond as follows. The charges suggested only one means by which the Teams could safely have raced (the use of a speed restriction). On that charge, the Teams were found not guilty. The Teams cannot understand how they can be found guilty by reference to another proposed solution, which was not part of the charges brought against them, which was not suggested by the FIA at Indianapolis, which was considered unsafe and which, in any event, would not have achieved a satisfactory race for the fans.
The Teams therefore will be lodging an appeal against each of these findings.
The Teams explained to the World Motor Sport Council that, in the light of the clear and written advice from Michelin that it was unsafe to race at Indianapolis on the tyres supplied by that company, the Teams had no choice but to decline to race. Any other decision would have been irresponsible. Nineteen of the current Formula One drivers have expressed their agreement with the decision of the Teams.
The Teams much regret that the American public were unable to enjoy a race involving all ten Formula One teams, and would like to express their thanks to the many fans who have communicated their support for the stance taken by the Teams and by Michelin on grounds of safety.
The Teams are pleased that Michelin have agreed to compensate fans who attended the race.
The Teams very much look forward to the next Grand Prix on Sunday.