Michelin has reacted to allegations made by Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn by threatening legal action, but Jean Todt has defended the team's decision to lodge a complaint with the FIA regarding the legality of the French firm’s tyres.

Michelin has reacted to allegations made by Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn by threatening legal action, but Jean Todt has defended the team's decision to lodge a complaint with the FIA regarding the legality of the French firm’s tyres.


CARtoday.com reported on Friday that Brawn had claimed that Michelin's tyres are illegal and have been for some time. "There is a facility within the regulations to investigate any matter if previously unknown information becomes available," Brawn was quoted as saying. "It's not what we want but Ferrari are very angry and frustrated as it is now clear that a large number of the Michelin teams were running illegal tyres for a considerable amount of time”.


However, in a letter to Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, Michelin said: "The FIA has always authorised all our front tyres whose 'tread width must not exceed 270mm'. This measurement has been taken by the FIA on new tyres, as stated in the FIA Sporting Regulations article 77C."


The letter reiterated Michelin's stance that its tyres have been legal since they were introduced in 2001 and states that it will try to conform to the new tyre ruling. But the manufacturer still feels that not enough time was given before the Italian Grand Prix.


In regard to comments by Brawn, the letter stated: "By making Ross Brawn's mistaken declaration the title of your article, you are misleading your readers and it is not for Ross Brawn to decide the legality of Michelin's tyres. We therefore request that you rectify this information, remembering that Ross Brawn's grievances are highly prejudicial to Michelin."


As a reminder how seriously it takes the situation, Michelin concluded that legal action may be considered: "Michelin reserves the right to take legal action following the slanderous remarks of the Ferrari team-member."


Meanwhile, Ferrari team principal Jean Todt has defended the team's decision to lodge a complaint with the FIA. Many observers – some of CARtoday.com’s readers included - believe that Ferrari is engineering the situation because it is struggling to retain its hold on the world championship, but Todt insisted that this was not the case.


"What do you think would have happened if the Bridgestone tyres on a Ferrari were too wide?" Todt said. "Do you think they (Michelin and/or the teams that use its rubber) would have kept quiet? They would have crucified us. They would have accused us of cheating. Our opponents would have demanded we be disqualified for all the races it could be proven we had used illegal tyres."


"We didn't want to harm the sport. But I'll tell you, it was not an easy decision,” he added. “Our opponents should explain why they think we're sore losers. We didn't challenge the race results in Hungary even though we could have. There was enough evidence there."