The World Council decides

Well, it was a nervous day to be a Formula 1 fan. But it turned out to be not as bad as I had expected.

The Michelin teams were found:

  • guilty of failing to ensure that they were in possession of suitable tyres for the 2005 US Grand Prix; but with strong, mitigating circumstances

This is quite fair in my opinion. Michelin undoubtedly supplied the teams with unsuitable tyres, but the World Council has recognised that there wasn’t much Michelin could have done about this, as they did not know that the changed conditions would so adversely affect their tyres.

  • guilty of wrongfully refusing to allow their cars to start the race, having regard to their right to use the pit lane on each lap

This, I think, is unfair. I have mentioned several times that having the teams going through the pit lane on every lap would have looked every bit as ridiculous as the six car race.

  • not guilty of refusing to race subject to a speed restriction, having regard to the absence of any detailed plan for this
  • not guilty of combining to make a demonstration for the reason that they had hoped to race until the last minute
  • not guilty of failing to inform the Stewards of their intention not to start (Article 131) for the same reason

Phew for all that then.

There’s still one problem though.

The World Motor Sport Council has decided to adjourn discussion of any penalty to an extraordinary meeting of the WMSC to be held on 14 September 2005…

So instead of having this all out of the way, the Sword of Damocles will be hanging over Formula 1 for another three months.

The FIA will look at how Michelin or the Michelin runners compensate the spectators (which they have done already). But the magnifying glass will be on the Michelins now. One puncture too many could see serious punishment.

The teams are unhappy about the whole situation, and apparently the French Grand Prix is still in doubt.

The problem is that the FIA cannot punish Michelin because it is the teams’ responsibility to follow the rules; Michelin merely supply tyres. If Michelin supply the wrong tyres, it is the teams’ fault. The problem is, though, that it isn’t the teams’ fault at all, is it? But the FIA have to be seen to be upholding the rules, and they can only punish the teams. No wonder the teams feel hard done by.

It’s difficult to see a way out of that one though.

Hopefully all the parties can be sensible about this whole situation.

Update: Six teams issue statement. Red Bull are consipicuous by their absence, but it’s not too surprising. Ever since they bought Jaguar they have increasingly joined Jordan Midland in the FIArrari camp.

The main thing, though, is that the French Grand Prix looks safe, as do all the remaining Championship events (until September at least). Thank goodness for that.

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