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racecar.jpgIn unprecedented move that could cost nearly $20 million dollars, Michelin Tire Co. is offering fans who attended the June 19 Formula One US Grand Prix race in Indianapolis a full refund. The average ticket price was $100.
The move is a response to a PR disaster for Michelin and Formula One after Michelin discovered a design flaw on the day of the race that made its tires unsafe. Race rules prohibit teams from changing tires after qualifying and the governing body refused to make an exception. So the public was deprived of the race.
Is throwing money at the problem the answer? Very doubtful. Testing and re-testing the tires before an international event was the answer. And it’s too late for that.
Michelin Needs to Own Safety
Sure, Michelin will get back some good will. But the issue is not likely to go away among racing enthusiasts, who are opinion leaders in tire buying decisions. I used to have Michelins on my car, and one of the reasons I spent the extra money on them was that they were safe enough for race car drivers to use them.
Michelin needs to make its name synonymous with safety again. A blog on safe driving, as well as some cool virals, would be a way to begin.
Lawsuits had been filed by fans who claimed Michelin was “responsible for not producing the type of event advertised.” Said Sports Law Blog “Expect some refunds to be issued and for this to all go away.”
Formula One has been trying for years to build an audience in the US and to attract sponsors for TV broadcasts. However, as
Popular Mechanics notes, “F1 is the most boring racing on the planet.”
Formula One president Bernie Ecclestone said, “The future for Formula One in the U.S. is not good.”