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Tyre manufacturers have been warned that their product will be banned if they take a radical new design to the first race in Australia.

At least one of the sport's two tyre manufacturers, Bridgestone and Michelin, are considering debuting an innovative new groove pattern and altered shoulders. But they are in dispute with the governing body over the exact interpretation of the regulations.

One leading source within the manufacturers says the rules are too vague and the FIA's stand had come too close to the first race.

FIA President Max Mosley did not make specific references to the tyre dispute but he acknowledged there are issues going on behind the scenes.

"There are certain controversial things being discussed for Melbourne, things we know about," he said. "But there is only one thing we think is illegal and we have told the people concerned. I hope they won't turn up with it in Melbourne."

Sources close to the FIA said there are concerns over proposals for asymmetric grooves and sloping shoulder designs on the drawing board.

"We think the grooves should be uniform across the tyre whichever way you look at them, but some people disagree," said an insider. "Some people think that if one shoulder slopes more than the other that would be alright. We don't." sources have speculated that it could be Michelin due to the camber noticed on their new tyres in testing. This has not been confirmed by either manufacturer or the FIA.

A confrontation with the FIA at the first race in Australia, in three weeks time, could prove costly for at least one of the sport's leading teams.

Bridgestone supply champions Ferrari while Michelin supply the other two top teams McLaren and Williams.
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