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Bridgestone, Michelin Criticize F1 Single-Source Strategy

Bridgestone Corp. and Michelin are speaking out against a plan to eliminate one of them from Formula One auto racing in 2006 to cut teams’ costs and reduce the impact of tire choice on racing. The 10 teams want a single tire supplier to reduce the more than $300 million a year they spend for testing and the more than $40 million a year required to operate a team, according to Max Mosley, president of Formula One’s ruling body.

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NASHVILLE, TN — Bridgestone Corp. and Michelin are speaking out against a plan to eliminate one of them from Formula One auto racing in 2006 to cut teams’ costs and reduce the impact of tire choice on racing.

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The 10 teams want a single tire supplier to reduce the more than $300 million a year they spend for testing and the more than $40 million a year required to operate a team, according to Max Mosley, president of Formula One’s ruling body.

Of the 10 teams, Bridgestone supplies four, including Ferrari. Michelin supplies the others, including BMW-Williams.

Bridgestone argued that tire publicity would decline with only one supplier.

“Tire companies should be welcome in Formula One,” added Pierre Dupasquier, racing director for Michelin.

Bridgestone entered the sport in 1997. The last time there was a single tire supplier was in 1999 and 2000 after Goodyear exited. Michelin returned to the sport after a 17-year absence in 2001.

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The decision to remove one supplier still has to be formally approved by Formula One officials. If neither company wants to leave in 2006, one will be selected to leave by the racing body, according to F1 spokesman Richard Woods.

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