JANUARY 30, 2003
Stoddart to seek FIA help with tire issue
For the second day in a row, Minardi was forced to test on Avon F3000-spec slick tires because of their dispute with Bridgestone, and team principal Paul Stoddart now says he will go to the FIA to help resolve the problem.
Stoddart has said the team has tried to negotiate a supply deal with the Japanese tire manufacturer since mid-October, but Bridgestone has been unresponsive.
The Concorde Agreement says that if there are two tire manufacturers in F1, each must supply 60% of the teams (6 teams), if called upon. Stoddart believes that Bridgestone is in breach of the regulations, and will now call upon the FIA to resolve the issue.
After Jos Verstappen spent Thursday testing in Valencia on Avon F3000 tires, Stoddart vented, "It is with great regret that, yet again, Minardi is forced to deal with the fact Bridgestone has chosen not to supply the team with tyres at Valencia today.╩Sadly, we are now left with no choice but to make an official complaint to the FIA, as we believe Bridgestone is in clear breach of its obligations under the FIA F1 2003 Sporting Regulations.╩After three-and-a-half months of trying to negotiate an agreement, I think the situation can best be summed up by the fact that, not once during this time, despite repeated attempts, have I been able either to arrange a meeting, or even to speak with the Bridgestone Director of Motorsport, Hiroshi Yasukawa.╩I simply cannot believe that a company of Bridgestone's standing could treat any customer in this way."
"Unfortunately, because of Bridgestone's total lack of communication and cooperation over this matter, we have wasted two valuable days of pre-season testing here in Valencia - something that, in the current climate, Minardi could ill afford to do."
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