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FIA warns teams to consider tyre safety

NEWS STORY
02/06/2005

In reaction to what the FIA terms media and public "hysteria" over the issue of tyre wear, and in particular the incident which eliminated race leader Kimi Raikkonen from the European Grand Prix, the FIA has sent out a warning to the teams.

The sport's governing body has warned that teams and drivers must give serious concern to safety, and in particular pay attention to tyre wear or risk being black-flagged (disqualified).

In the hours after the Monaco Grand Prix, an FIA spokesman told Pitpass that the new tyre rules, which restrict drivers to one set for qualifying and the race, were responsible for much of the improvement to F1 racing in 2005. The 2005 Monaco event was one of the best in recent history, with numerous overtaking moves on a circuit that doesn't encourage overtaking.

Renault made a mistake in its tyre strategy which caused Fernando Alonso to fall victim to both WilliamsF1 drivers and into the clutch of Juan Pablo Montoya. The Spaniard, having realised that his tyres were 'shot', nursed his car home to take 5 valuable points.

A week later, Kimi Raikkonen went at it like a bull in a china shop and caused excessive wear to his tyres early in the race, which eventually led to the suspension failure that put him out of the Grand Prix on the last lap.

Many sections of the media, including Pitpass, have been critical of the tyre rule, fearing that F1 is riding its luck, and warning that sooner or later someone is going to get hurt.

The FIA however, insists that the rule is a good rule, and that it will continue to improve the racing, but that drivers must learn how to treat their tyres properly.

"Managing ones tyres and brakes is a basic driver skill," an FIA spokesman told Pitpass. "However, the regulations do allow teams to change a damaged tyre."

Mindful of what happened last week, and also bearing in mind the way teams and drivers are only too happy to exploit any possible loophole, the FIA has warned that drivers should fool themselves into thinking that if they deliberately flat-spot their tyres, they will be entitled to change them.

However, the FIA has warned that if its stewards believe an unnecessary risk is being taken and that a drivers tyres are in a condition that causes concern, they will not hesitate in black-flagging the driver.

In a letter sent to the team bosses, Max Mosley has writes: "It should not be forgotten that a mechanical failure at high speed may involve a degree of risk to the spectating public.

"If you are in any doubt about your car, you should always call it in. If you are still in doubt after checking the car in the pits, you should retire it from the race."

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