Bridgestone and Michelin continue battle over grooves

BRIDGESTONE has issued a statement reiterating the fact that they will supply tires in 2002 that fully conform to FIA rules, and suggesting that rival Michelin may not.

The French tire maker has developed tires with asymmetrical groves, designed to last longer, and argues that the are within the FIA regulations, but the FIA has warned that the new tires are not legal.

Bridgestone says, "The company is pleased to confirm that the tires it is taking to Melbourne will comply fully with the FIA regulations, that is four grooves with the correct dimensions set down in the rules."

Hisao Saganuma, Bridgestone's technical manager explained, "The FIA regulations state that each front dry-weather tire, when new, must have four circumferential grooves which must be arranged symmetrically about the center of the tire tread, at least 14mm wide at the contact surface, and which taper uniformly to a minimum of 10mm at the lower surface."

All the noise that has been made over the issue probably means that Michelin will not show up in Melbourne with the questionable tires. If they were run, and performed well, a protest would almost certainly be made by one of the Bridgestone shod teams, which, according to the FIA's statements last week, would lead to disqualifications. That is a risk none of the teams, nor Michelin want to take.

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