Brazilian GP: Michelin preview

2002 FIA Formula One World Championship Brazilian Grand Prix - Sao Paulo - Sunday March 31 Michelin's Formula One partners will be in action at the Interlagos circuit in Brazil this weekend for the third round of the 2002 FIA F1 World ...

2002 FIA Formula One World Championship Brazilian Grand Prix - Sao Paulo - Sunday March 31

Michelin's Formula One partners will be in action at the Interlagos circuit in Brazil this weekend for the third round of the 2002 FIA F1 World Championship.

The previous race in Malaysia was satisfying and emotionally rewarding in equal measure because BMW.WilliamsF1 Team drivers Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya notched up Michelin's first one-two finish of the third millennium.

The only slight disappointment was that Jenson Button lost third place almost within sight of the chequered flag and Michelin was thus denied a clean sweep of the top three. Even so, the Renault F1 star came home a strong fourth and gave his team its first points finish of the campaign.

The 4.309-kilometre Interlagos track is very technical and features elevation changes that make it extremely challenging and somewhat different from flatter, more conventional circuits. Before you dive into the Senna S at the end of the pit straight you ne ed two things: a well-balanced car and supreme self-confidence.

There are a couple of factors that make Interlagos physically tough on drivers: unlike most tracks this one runs anti-clockwise, which their necks aren't accustomed to, and it is also quite bu mpy. The heat can play an important part and there is always a risk that heavy downpours might alter pre-determined race strategies.

Do you think your partners at West McLaren Mercedes and Renault F1 will be as effective an antidote to the Ferraris at Interlagos as the BMW.WilliamsF1 Team? "We hope so," says Michelin motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier, "but our rivals at Ferrari showed how tough they are to beat in Malaysia, despite the problems that afflicted them. What's more, we find ourselves right in the Tropic of Capricorn at a time of year when it is not unusual to see heavy rain soak the track at least once per day. I anticipate that we will get an opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of the winter testi ng we did with our rain tyres, so long as others don't force 'our' drivers off the track, which is what happened last year."

Are you bringing a new kind of tyre to Brazil? "Yes, we'll have two new types of tyre in terms of construction and compound," says Michelin's F1 project manager Pascal Vasselon, "and these are a result of our ongoing development programme. Our F1 partners had a chance to try them again during last week 's test session in Barcelona. We also evaluated five new constructions and four fresh compounds. After soaking the track artificially we sampled six wets, too."

-michelin-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , McLaren , Williams