June 28, 2005

Michelin finds no intrinsic fault with tires that blew out at 2005 U.S. Grand Prix practice

Vancouver, B.C. – After a majority of the race teams pulled out of the 2005 U.S. Grand Prix due to concerns about Michelin tires blowing out in Turn 13 during practice, the company conducted an investigation into the causes of the problem.

“The tires were not intrinsically flawed, but were insufficiently suited to the extreme racing conditions encountered through Turn 13 of the Indianapolis circuit this year,” said a company news release.

The Michelin investigations revealed that the loads exerted on the rear left tire through Turn 13 at Indianapolis were far superior to the highest estimations of Michelin’s engineers. This year, the situation through this corner turned out to be altered by the extreme combination of the speed, lateral acceleration and additional dynamic load. The tires which Michelin took were therefore insufficiently adapted to the extreme conditions of Turn 13 in 2005.

On the other hand, the investigation concerning the materials and construction employed for the tires produced for Indianapolis confirmed the absence of any anomaly. The tires did not have an intrinsic flaw but they were not insufficiently suited to turn 13.

In conclusion, Michelin Competition’s Director Mr. Pierre Dupasquier declared: “The problem was that we under-evaluated the extreme constraints to which tires were exposed through Turn 13 in the specific context of 2005. We are grateful to our partners for their work with us right up to the last moment to seek a solution that would have permitted the race to go ahead in total safety. We regret that the spectators did not see an exciting race. However, in keeping with its principles, Michelin did not sacrifice safety for performance.”

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