Austrian GP: Michelin preview

DEMON HILLS Michelin motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier says: "The previous round of the world championship took place in Barcelona, where the main straight runs downhill. This weekend in Austria the pit straight is shorter, but runs uphill.

DEMON HILLS

Michelin motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier says: "The previous round of the world championship took place in Barcelona, where the main straight runs downhill. This weekend in Austria the pit straight is shorter, but runs uphill. Why is that significant? Simple. The sharper the ascent, the more engine power comes into play. Renault, one of our partner teams, has been very competitive so far this season and has announced that it expects to run an evolutionary version of its V10 at the A1-Ring, which should stand it in good stead."

"There are lots of high-downforce corners in Austria, an equal mix of left- and right-handers, and a good aerodynamic set-up is essential. In that respect, all five of our partner teams should be in good shape."

"As far as tyres are concerned, we don't know the A1-Ring terribly well. It is one of the circuits at which we don't test between races. Recent investigations show that the nature of the surface has evolved considerably since last season and that might have a significant influence on performance."

"Michelin teams looked very strong last time out in Spain. with our partner teams profiting from a selection of well-adjusted tyres. We would hope to repeat this in Austria and Saturday's qualifying session should tell us where we stand. Finally, I hope certain elements of the Spanish GP won't be repeated, because a number of incidents forced out several drivers who were capable of representing Michelin on the podium."

Olivier Panis (Panasonic Toyata Racing driver):

"Austria is again a dusty track on the first day. To find the tyres is not so easy because the track conditions change a lot. It is a very understeer circuit, which is why we have some cars using scrubbed front tyres and new rear."

Pierre Dupasquier (Michelin motorsport director):

"Cars are subjected to maximum load for several seconds at a time as they pass through the longer corners at the A1-Ring, which generates some of the highest lap speeds of the season. Cars average about 229 km/h (142 mph), which is roughly 6 km/h (3.5 mph) per lap faster than Barcelona, for instance."

"The weather in this part of the world can be scorching hot or extremely cold and wet. We have developed a new wet-weather tyre for this track. The tread pattern is the same as the one we took to Spain, but if it rains the temperatures are likely to be quite low and we bore that in mind when choosing a suitable compound. Following the communication from the FIA to the teams, we will also have present tyres for "extreme weather conditions."

"As far as weight penalties are concerned, lap times rise by about 0.3 seconds for every extra 10kg of fuel that drivers carry, one of the lowest of the year."

Technically speaking, with Pascal Vasselon (F1 project manager)

A FOUR THOUGHT
"Our partner teams have chosen four different types of dry-weather tyre for the Austrian GP. The new construction that some drivers tried in Spain has been evaluated during the latest round of test sessions and all our cars will use it this weekend."

BARCELONA PUTS A HUGE STRAIN ON TYRES, THE A1-RING DOESN'T. WHY?
"The smaller a tyre's contact ratio, the higher the strain on the compound. The A1-Ring is easier than Barcelona on tyres because there are fewer long, high-speed corners and tyres have a higher contact ratio on a surface that is smooth and non-abrasive. The tyres we will use this weekend come from our range's 'soft' sector."

HOW LONG WOULD A SET OF BARCELONA TYRES LAST IN AUSTRIA?
"You could do several grands prix on one set, but bear in mind that it would take a number of laps for the harder tyres to reach peak operating temperature."

SLOW, SLOW, QUICK, QUICK, SLOW
"To optimise tyre performance in Austria you need to strike a compromise. The circuit features a variety of challenges and the various types of corner place different demands on rubber. The first part of the lap features short straights and slow corners that favour soft compounds, but the remainder of the lap is faster and demands something harder."

"The most difficult thing is to strike a balance between the contrasting demands of extreme cornering forces and a smooth, non-abrasive surface on the faster parts of the track. Overall the tendency is to choose a soft tyre, but one which can 'resist' in the areas of the circuit where it comes under the greatest stresses."

TIP OF THE STOPS
"Pit stops in Austria are not too time-consuming at about 25 to 30 seconds. As in Spain, some teams are likely to opt for three-stop strategies."

-michelin-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Olivier Panis