Michelin teams set to be cleared over Indy 14 Jul 2005
The guilty verdicts handed out to the seven Michelin teams following their US Grand Prix withdrawal last month look almost certain to be cancelled following the presentation of new evidence at a meeting of the FIA senate on Thursday.
McLaren boss Ron Dennis attended the meeting, acting as representative for BAR, McLaren, Renault, Sauber, Toyota and Williams, along with Red Bulls sporting director Christian Horner.
Having examined the new evidence and discussed it with both team principals, the Senate said it was satisfied that the teams were contractually bound to follow the instructions of their tyre supplier and that their tyre supplier had expressly prohibited them from racing.
It went on to say that in light of the new evidence, disciplinary proceedings against the teams had ceased to be appropriate and were no longer in the interest of the sport. It will now recommend to the World Motor Sport Council that the guilty verdicts be dropped and a fax vote on the matter is expected to take place in the next few days.
The Council found the seven teams guilty of two charges last month - one of failing to have appropriate tyres for the US Grand Prix and a second of wrongfully refusing to allow their cars to take the start. The Council had deferred setting any punishment until September.
Before that decision, Michelin had already accepted responsibility for the events at Indianapolis, though as a supplier and not a competitor, no action could be taken directly against them. They have, however, promised to refund all race day tickets, as well as provide fans with 20,000 free tickets for next years event.
Michelin instructed their teams not to race after deciding they could not guarantee the safety of their tyres through the high-speed banking of Turn 13. As a result the US Grand Prix was run with just the six Bridgestone cars, with victory going to Ferrari's Michael Schumacher.