THURSDAY 23RD JUNE 2005
FIA president Max Mosley knows who he thinks is to blame for the United States Grand Prix ending up with only six cars taking the start, and believes that the guilty party should be prepared to contribute towards the fans' redress.
Speaking via a lengthy Q&A released by the governing body, Mosley had not doubt that the fans, particularly those that had travelled from overseas, should be financially compensated for costs incurred in visiting the event, and reckoned that tyre company Michelin should foot the bill.
"My personal view, and it is only my personal view, is that Michelin should offer to compensate the fans on a fair basis and ask the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to coordinate this," he said, "Then, Tony George and Bernie Ecclestone should jointly announce that the US Grand Prix will take place at Indianapolis in 2006, and that anyone who had a ticket this year would be entitled to the same ticket free of charge next year. But I emphasise, that's just my personal view."
While on the subject of the tyre company, Mosley refuted the view that the governing body had vetoed the idea of alternative tyres being flown in by Michelin to replace those that had been causing problems in practice.
"It is completely untrue that we stopped them," he insisted, "We told them they could use the tyre, but that the stewards would undoubtedly penalise them to ensure they gained no advantage from breaking the rules by using a high-performance short-life tyre just for qualifying. We also had to make sure this did not set a precedent. However, the question became academic, because Michelin apparently withdrew the tyre after trying it on a test rig.
"We wrote [to the two tyre companies about ensure the safety of their tyres] on 1 June, and both replied positively. The letter was prompted by incidents in various races, in addition to rumours of problems in private testing. You would have to ask Michelin [why neither of their Indianapolis-spec tyres fitted that requirement].
"The tyre companies have no difficulty making tyres last. The difficult bit is making a fast tyre last. There is always a compromise between speed and reliability. Tyre companies usually bring an on-the-limit race tyre and a more conservative back-up which, although slower, is there to provide a safety net if there are problems. There have been one or two cases this season of too much speed and not enough reliability, [and] Indianapolis was the most recent and worst example.
"We cannot order Michelin to do anything. We have no contractual relationship with them. Their relationship is with the teams. However, we have an excellent understanding with both tyre companies and with many of the teams' other suppliers, and we find they always help us with technical information when we ask them.
"We will listen carefully to what the teams have to say [at the 29 June hearing]. There are two sides to every story and the seven teams must have a full opportunity to tell theirs. The atmosphere will be calm and polite. The World Motor Sport Council members come from all over the world and will undoubtedly take a decision that is fair and balanced."
The US fans make their feelings known at the United States Grand Prix