• Sep 15th 2006 at 11:52AM
  • 7
The bizarre goings-on in the wake of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, which have included accusations (since withdrawn) of the FIA effectively "fixing" the world championship, took another twist this week, as French tire maker Michelin suggested that Bridgestone was using illegal chemical treatments to enhance the performance of its tires.
The latest controversy centers around a photograph of a Bridgestone tire technician, taken at the Italian Grand Prix, which shows the technician wearing the sort of protective apron and face mask normally worn to handle toxic chemicals. According to Michelin, none of the normal activities of a tire tech on a race weekend - mounting and dismounting tires, setting inflation pressures, and cutting open tires for post-race inspection - would require this sort of protection.

On the other hand, chemical treatment of tires to enhance traction - a prohibited practice known as "tire doping" - involves highly toxic carcinogens in liquid or aerosol form, and suitable protective gear would be highly advisable. Such chemical treatments are widely available (one such commercial product is shown at right) and commonly used by amateur racers to extend the useful life of their expensive race tires. And yes, it really works.

The FIA responded by saying that Bridgestone explained the unusual garb to the satisfaction of the governing body, and according to a spokesman, "We...have absolutely no concerns."

[Sources: Reuters, Autosport via Winding Road]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      I think that's the dude who has to flush out the chemical toilets in all the motorhomes.
      • 9 Years Ago
      LOL, it's funny how just because Renault can't keep up with the Ferrari cars at this point in the season they start pointing fingers. Just face it, they are faster!
      • 8 Years Ago
      This guy has been looting the public for nerly 25 years now and there is no end in sight. What is really shocking is that he has appropriated the rights of formula 1 and grandprix names as his private property and instead of launching multi-billion dollar lawsuits against this fraudster all major F1 teams have opened their coffers for him to loot.

      This must be the biggest and most debase example of foolishness and idiocy in the history of mostorsport.

      Formula 1 has no creativity left now.

      Engines are supposed to last only one race.

      Fuel consumption would put the biggest hog on the planet to shame.

      Races are openly fixed.

      teams like toyota f1, mercedes, bmw burn billions every year on this junk and total nuisance with no real value or entertainment to the world. Nothing productive or positive is coming from F1.

      This rascaldom continues to go unabated.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Why is it always the French accusing others of doping?
      • 9 Years Ago
      I need some of this stuff for when I go to the local drag meet.
      • 9 Years Ago
      F1 news site, Pitpass, made fun of the picture (fun read):


      "picture provided to Pitpass, appears to show that Japanese tyre supplier Bridgestone has found a fiendish, not to say entirely illegal, way in which tyre performance can be improved, by applying lashings of what, at first glimpse, appears to be yoghurt.

      This shocking photograph shows what is believed to be a Bridgestone employee wearing overalls, ear protectors, and a crude form of gas mask... raising questions as to why such protection should be needed in the Formula One paddock. The most damning thing about this almost exclusive photograph is that the Bridgestone employee appears to be eating yoghurt... or maybe an ice cream, or even a Crunchie McFlurry... it might even be a bowl of Frosties... in what is clearly a contaminated environment.

      Look at the man, look at his eyes, look at the pout, that smug inscrutable smile, the know-it-all expression... he is clearly up to no good!!!"
      • 9 Years Ago
      I guess no sport is safe from doping scandals...