Belgian FP Michelin preview

Belgian Grand Prix ­ Spa - Sunday, September 2 2001 At the previous race in Hungary, Michael Schumacher clinched his 51st grand prix victory and his 4th Formula 1 title. And, with a helping hand from team-mate Rubens Barrichello, he secured ...

Belgian Grand Prix ­ Spa - Sunday, September 2 2001

At the previous race in Hungary, Michael Schumacher clinched his 51st grand prix victory and his 4th Formula 1 title. And, with a helping hand from team-mate Rubens Barrichello, he secured Ferrari its second straight world championship for constructors.

For Michelin and its partner teams, it was largely a race to forget. Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team-Michelin) qualified and finished 4th and 8th respectively, while neither Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport-Michelin nor Jaguar Racing-Michelin were able to repeat the promising form they showed during free practice.

Michelin motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier says: "The Hungarian GP was a fairly trying event for us. Apart from Rubens Barrichello's bright start, which allowed him to sprint from third to second and protect Michael Schumacher, nothing occurred to alter the status quo we witnessed during qualifying."

Spa: land of the brave...
Located in the heart of the Ardennes, about 50 kilometres from Liège, Spa-Francorchamps is a superb, natural road circuit whose every corner has been touched by motor racing history. The circuit is notable for its succession of high-speed corners, taken at more than 300 km/h (185 mph), and it demands a very precise set- up to ensure sufficient straightline speed to prevent rivals passing at the end of the long run up to Les Combes or under braking for the La Source hairpin. The compression at Eau Rouge is one of the sport's most famous challenges: the track plunges downhill before rising sharply to give drivers one of their most dramatic sensations of the season.

Pierre Dupasquier "Spa is a superb track that places great loads on the chassis thanks to a grippy surface, substantial changes in elevation and quick corners that demand finesse and courage in equal measure. We are looking forward to a real fight here. With its recent evolutions and equipped with our latest tyres, the FW23 will hopefully prove to be more competitive, provided everything comes together at the same time."

Michelin's F1 project manager Pascal Vasselon adds: "We are dealing here with very quick corners and we have worked on tyres that support high lateral loads at very high speeds. What's more, at Spa we will use a new tyre construction that our partner teams favoured when they used it in the most recent round of tests in Barcelona and Silverstone."

In this area of the Ardennes, the weather has a tendency to be extremely fickle and some parts of the circuit can remain dry while others are soaked. Sometimes, however, the sun can transform a sodden weekend into a veritable summer cauldron.

Vasselon says: "As far as compounds are concerned, we will use tyres that fit more or less into the middle of our range. We have tried to take the changeable weather into account and our primary and option tyres are quite different to allow for possible temperature variations."

-Michelin

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Williams , Benetton , Jaguar Racing