Australian GP: Michelin preview

The 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship springs into life in Melbourne, Australia on March 5. Michelin will be present with its six partners - the BMW WilliamsF1 Team, Jaguar Racing, the Mild Seven Renault F1 Team, Panasonic Toyota Racing,...

The 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship springs into life in Melbourne, Australia on March 5. Michelin will be present with its six partners - the BMW WilliamsF1 Team, Jaguar Racing, the Mild Seven Renault F1 Team, Panasonic Toyota Racing, Team McLaren Mercedes and BAR Honda, a newcomer to the Michelin fold.

Located in picturesque Albert Park, the circuit is not a permanent facility and the roads are open to everyday traffic for all but one week per year. As a result the track surface tends to be dirty - and therefore very slippery - at the start of the grand prix meeting.

Gradually, however, the F1 cars lay down rubber and the circuit generates significantly more grip as the weekend wears on. Generally Melbourne places a high level of strain on tyres, because it features a number of high-speed corners and also demands fierce braking several times per lap.

Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:

How well prepared are you for the 2004 season?

"It is always difficult to know where one stands before the racing begins in earnest - not least because we haven't yet had an opportunity to see all the teams running together in identical conditions. Every car has completed a healthy number of laps at a variety of circuits. I accept that it's hard to know exactly what fuel loads teams are running during pre-season tests, but it's fair to say that all our partners have fulfilled our expectations in terms of performance. What's more, some of our new-specification tyres have produced particularly interesting results. I don't think it's any secret that we are approaching the season in a positive frame of mind."

"In summary, we are confident that our tyres will be competitive. As for winning championship titles, well, that's another thing altogether. There will be seven or eight Michelin drivers who are capable of challenging for podium finishes at every race and it is inevitable that they will take points off each other. Over the course of a season that could benefit our rivals. But let's wait and see. Ask me the same question again on Sunday March 7, after the chequered flag has fallen in Australia."

-michelin-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Teams Mercedes , McLaren , Williams , Toyota Racing , Renault F1 Team , Jaguar Racing