FIA drops charges against seven teams

PARIS -- Formula One's governing body dropped all guilty
verdicts Friday against the seven teams that refused to race in
last month's U.S. Grand Prix in Indianapolis.

FIA's World Motor Sports Council voted overwhelmingly to accept
a recommendation that the case be rescinded against BMW-Williams,
Mercedes-McLaren, BAR-Honda, Toyota, Sauber, Red Bull and Renault.

The FIA's senate made the recommendation last week.

"The guilty verdicts of June 29 made against the seven Michelin
teams have therefore been canceled," the FIA said in a statement.

The seven teams withdrew from the June 19 race after Michelin
said its tires were unsafe for the Indianapolis circuit. Michelin
wanted a series of turns installed to slow cars, but FIA refused.

FIA found the teams guilty of bringing the sport into disrepute
and threatened anything from lifetime bans to heavy fines. But
FIA's senate, made up of eight senior officials including president
Max Mosley, backed down at a meeting last week.

The seven teams had made clear they could withdraw from F1 if they were punished.

It was the latest example of a rift that threatens to divide the
sport after the 2007 season.

Mosley and F1 commercial director Bernie Ecclestone are trying
to keep control of the sport. Three teams -- Ferrari, Red Bull and
Jordan -- have signed up to stay with the series through 2012.

The seven other teams, led by the five major manufacturers --
Renault, BMW, Mercedes, Honda and Toyota -- have threatened to start
a breakaway circuit.