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Michelin explain Friday tyre problems 02 Apr 2004

David Coulthard (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/19 suffers a tyre failure during practice.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Practice Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 2 April 2004

Michelin have said that detached drainage hatches at the Bahrain circuit were the likely cause of deflating tyres for David Coulthard, Fernando Alonso and Anthony Davidson on Friday.

“Three of our drivers suffered damaged tyres during the course of today’s free practice,” said Pascal Vasselon, the French company’s F1 programme manager. "We have found identical marks on all three affected tyres and they all suffered kerb impact damage prior to deflating.

“Michelin has collaborated with the FIA’s technical department in order to establish what caused three of its tyres to sustain damage during today’s second free practice session. An inspection of the track has revealed that two drainage hatches have become detached from their concrete bases, creating sharp ridges that will damage any tyre that crosses them.

“A temporary cure has been set up for today’s remaining track activities and a permanent solution will be in place before F1 practice resumes tomorrow morning.”

Davidson and Alonso got their cars back to the pits, while Coulthard spun off into the gravel in the closing minutes of Practice Two.