An unseemly little spat

It is not hard to understand that feelings between Michelin and the FIA have been running high since the mess at Indianapolis back in June and the dispute reared its head again at Spa where Michelin chairman Edouard Michelin had another pop at FIA President Max Mosley and Mosley responded.

"We have today limited trust with the transparency and governance process of the FIA," Michelin said. "Sometimes I wonder, is there really anything wrong with winning through fair means? Maybe there are other reasons behind the FIA proposals for a monopoly tyre. We would like those behind these ideas in the FIA to be transparent about their intentions, and this is not the case."

Michelin also questioned the process by which rival Yokohama became the sole supplier for the FIA World Touring Car Championship.

"This was done a few days after the Indianapolis Formula 1 Grand Prix," he said. "What was the criteria that brought about the FIA's final decision? Were the technical features of the tyres taken into account?"

Michelin added that if a tender to be Formula 1's sole supplier was conducted on the same lines, Michelin would not take part, unless it was a question of keeping the sport running.

On Sunday morning an obviously piqued Mosley responded that Michelin was "clearly irritated that the FIA condemned Michelin's failure to provide suitable tyres for the 2005 United States Grand Prix" and went on to say that "Mr Michelin should try to understand that no governing body, competitor or member of the paying public could be happy with a supplier which turned up with the wrong equipment and wrecked a major World Championship event."

In vintage Mosley style he chose to belittle Michelin saying that the proposal for a single tyre came from the F1 teams and that "if Mr Michelin is not aware of these simple facts he shows an almost comical lack of knowledge of modern Formula 1".

What is most interesting is that in recent months Mosley seems to have been willing to smooth over problems, avoiding such unseemly little spats. On this occasion, however, he has been unable to stop himself reacting, which, alas, suggests what many in F1 fear: that the old Mosley still lurks somewhere in the cloud of good natured compromise and may re-emerge after the FIA elections in October.

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