The seven Michelin Formula 1 teams brought before the World Motorsport council today charged with five counts of “bringing the sport into disrepute” have been found guilty of two.
The World Motorsport Council decided that the teams were guilty of “failing to bring the correct tyres to the race, but with strong mitigating circumstances”, and “wrongfully refusing to allow their cars to race with regard to their right to use the pitlane on every lap”. They did not find them guilty however of the other three charges which involved refusing to race subject to a speed restriction, combining to make a demonstration damaging the image of the sport and failing to inform the stewards of their decision not to race.
In response the teams have said they are “disappointed by the decision of the World Motorsport council” and “will be lodging an appeal against each of its findings”.
They point out that, “they reasonably relied on Michelin, an approved FIA tyre supplier and a highly reputable manufacturer of tyre worldwide, to provide suitable tyres for that race”, and that “Michelin have already acknowledged that they (the tyre company) were responsible for the supply of unsuitable tyres for that race”.
In response to being found guilty of not allowing their cars to race and use the pitlane on every lap a press release on their behalf said, “The (original) charges suggested only one means by which the teams could safely have raced, i.e. the use of a speed restriction. On that charge, the teams were found not guilty. The teams can not understand how they can be found guilty by reference to another proposed solution, which was not part of the charges brought against them, which was not suggested by the FIA at Indianapolis, which was considered unsafe and which, in any event, would not have acheived a satisfactory race for the fans.”
Punsihment for the teams will be decided on September 14th. Max Mosely, the head of the FIA, has hinted it will most likely be a financial fine and not a deduction of points or a race ban. He has also suggested it will be a more lenient punishment if the teams make efforts to repair F1’s image in the mean time.