On the eve of the FIA World Motor Sport Council to be held on Wednesday in Paris, where harsh sanctions could be taken against Michelin and the teams that refused to race in Indianapolis, the French tyre maker publishes this press release.
One week after the Indianapolis Grand Prix, Michelin wishes to make a sincere gesture of goodwill towards the people present at the GP, a group whose passion for F1 is encouraging in the development of this sport in the United States. Therefore, on our own initiative and in total solidarity with our partners, we have taken two decisions:
o 1. Michelin has decided to contribute to the costs incurred by the spectators present at the circuit on Sunday June 19th 2005 by offering to refund their tickets. This is an important decision, since Michelin is not at all legally bound to do this. Michelin deeply regrets that the public was deprived of an exciting race and therefore wishes to be the first, among the different groups involved in the Indianapolis race, to make a strong gesture towards the spectators.
o 2. Michelin also offers to buy 20,000 tickets for the 2006 U.S. Grand Prix to be given to spectators who were present at the Indianapolis race in 2005. We are offering this to promote further Formula 1 interest in the United States. We would also like to take this opportunity to underline the fact that it is unacceptable that our partner teams have been accused by the FIA of having boycotted the Indianapolis Grand Prix. The reality is that together, Michelin and its partners have done everything possible to assure that the race could take place in total safety. We are extremely disappointed that the proposals made with all our teams were not accepted. These proposals, including a chicane, were technically viable and totally met all safety requirements. On Sunday morning, June 19, the sporting authority had all the means necessary to preserve the interest of the race. And yet, the sporting authority rejected the proposed solutions.
Why? In our view this is totally incomprehensible and reflects a lack of respect for the spectators. It is the spirit of respect for the spectators that brought us, with our partners, to propose solutions to allow the race to take place in total safety. It is this same spirit that leads us today to make this gesture."
Michelin still holds the FIA responsible for what happened in Indianapolis and yet offers to refund the spectators. Putting the pressure on the FIA with this highly political text, Michelin might think Max Mosley could hardly account for severe sanctions against them and the teams that withdrew from the race. Let’s wait for FIA’s reply.