The seven Formula One teams that boycotted the U.S. Grand Prix face punishments ranging from a reprimand to lifetime bans at a hearing before the sport's ruling body to be held today.

The teams -- BMW-Williams, Mercedes-McLaren, BAR-Honda, Toyota, Sauber, Red Bull and Renault -- declined to race June 19 after their tire manufacturer, Michelin, said its tires were unsafe for the Indy circuit.

FIA, the governing organization, accused the teams of damaging the sport's image.

"We will listen carefully to what the teams have to say," FIA President Max Mosley said. "There are two sides to every story, and the seven teams must have a full opportunity to tell theirs."

However, harsh sanctions could lead to a backlash from the teams. Minardi owner Paul Stoddart said teams might refuse to race if they think the punishment excessive.

"There would be an appeal, it would go to the [FIA] court of appeal, and then it would end up in the civil courts," he told the BBC.

Meantime, Michelin offered to refund money to those who bought tickets for the U.S. Grand Prix.

Michelin also said it would buy 20,000 tickets for the 2006 race to be given to those who attended on June 19.

"Michelin deeply regrets that the public was deprived of an exciting race and therefore wishes to be the first, among the different groups involved in the Indianapolis race, to make a strong gesture towards the spectators," the company said.

Nine of the 10 teams, excluding Ferrari, proposed to run the U.S. Grand Prix only if a series of turns was installed to slow cars on a high-speed part of the course. Ferrari and Mosley rejected the possible compromise.

Mosley said he would not change the rules because some teams brought the wrong equipment.

"This would start to enter the world of the circus," he said.

-- From News Services