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Groupe Michelin has doubts about FIA decision

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The FIA, the governing body of Formula One racing, wants all its F1 race cars to drive on one tire brand starting with the 2006 season. Groupe Michelin, for one, does not think limiting the number of tire suppliers is a good idea.

Michelin is on record as saying the FIA decision was made without official input from the France-based tire manufacturer, one of two, along with Bridgestone Corp., that supplies tires to F1 racing.

"I am surprised by this course of action," said Michelin Group Chairman and CEO Edouard Michelin, "as, when we entered Formula One in 2001, it was following strong lobbying by certain teams that wanted to benefit from the positive effects of our technology on the performance of their cars."

"What’s more, their requests were supported by the Formula One organizers to heighten the sporting interest."

In an offcial statement, Michelin said it has decided "to consult with all its partners before making its position known on the very important subject of an eventual single tyre monopoly."

The FIA believes using a single tire brand will reduce F1 racing costs. Michelin, although "very much" in favour of reducing costs in F1, believes the use of one tire supplier is not the solution.

Michelin said it "would like to propose a number of solutions to reduce costs while maintaining the spirit of competition, that is to say the possibility of comparing one’s performance against that of one’s competitors, within the framework of clear and stable rules."

Bridgestone Corp. has yet to publicly comment on the FIA's decision.

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