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Tyres at Indy - Follow the money

NEWS STORY
19/06/2005

Race fans waking on Sunday morning in the hope that the tyre issue at Indianapolis has been resolved, are in for a disappointment.

With 9 hours to go before the race gets underway, the matter has still not been settled.

Michelin is flying in new tyres from France, but there is nothing to say that its partner teams will be allowed to use them, as this would be a clear breach of the regulations.

Pitpass can reveal that it has now been discovered that the tyres on the Red Bull and Sauber cars also "suffered problems", though it is unclear if these are the same as those suffered by the Toyotas on Friday.

All manner of suggestions have been put forward, including the building of a chicane before the high speed Turn 13, however this would penalize the Bridgestone runners. Other suggestions include giving the Michelin runners drive through penalties, time penalties, and even totally rearranging the grid.

In some parts of the pitlane there is little sympathy for Michelin, which in the eyes of some has simply pushed the envelope too far.

If the Michelin runners are given special dispensation - even for safety reasons - to use the new tyres being sent out from France, this would set a precedent for future events and would surely - as we have seen in the past - lead to protests and counter protests at future races.

The Michelin teams could run with the 'old' tyres - and therefore legally - against Michelin's advice, however this would mean increasing the tyre pressure, which would in turn slow the cars and hand the advantage back to the Bridgestone teams. Added to this is the possibility of a safety car period, during which the tyres would inevitably lose pressure, and thereby increase the risk.

The reaction post-European GP, when Kimi Raikkonen's suspension failed, the result of having flat-spotted a tyre early in the race, and crashed, almost taking out Jenson Button, put the safety aspect of the new tyre regulations in the headlines. Everybody will be watching the current situation very, very carefully, for the last thing F1 needs is a major accident involving drivers - or god forbid, the public - as the result of something, which to the mind of many, could have been avoided.

Getting the teams to agree on anything - at the best of times - is never easy, and it remains to be seen what proposal is finally accepted for today's race.

The idea of drivers - or indeed the public and marshals - taking unnecessary risks is unthinkable. However, so to is the idea of the Bridgestone teams having their own race.

Bernie Ecclestone wants F1 to succeed in America - he needs it to succeed here. Therefore the most likely scenario is that a solution will be found that will keep the punters in the stands and those watching on TV happy - and that the race will go ahead as normal.

And that the legal decision as to who really won will be made later in the year, when most people aren't really paying attention. Let's not forget, it's happened before.

As Mike Lawrence is always only too keen to say... follow the money, always follow the money.

Come hell or high water, there is no way that today's United States Grand Prix - complete with 20 cars - will not happen. Even if it means that the result isn't known until December.

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