The battle of the tyre giants will heat up in Malaysia this weekend where Michelin hope the heat will give them a performance boost. Michael Schumacher disagrees and thinks Bridgestone will have the advantage no matter what the conditions --...
The battle of the tyre giants will heat up in Malaysia this weekend where Michelin hope the heat will give them a performance boost. Michael Schumacher disagrees and thinks Bridgestone will have the advantage no matter what the conditions -- despite predictions that Michelin was the way to go, Ferrari stuck with Bridgestone tyres for this season.
"I think we will still have the better tyre," said Schumacher. "Maybe not to the extent we saw in Australia, but I disagree completely with the idea that Bridgestone will not be competitive in Malaysia. This opinion is based on last year, when the Bridgestone's suffered a bit in the hot weather in the early part of the season. At the beginning of last year, there was definitely a gap between us and Michelin but by the mid-season the gap had closed."
Schumacher, who is chasing his third consecutive Malaysian GP win, said that the French Grand Prix last year proved that Ferrari had overcome any potential problems. "At the French GP we were more than competitive, even if the so-called experts believed the opposite prior to the race, that's why I'm very optimistic about the Malaysian race. I am sure we will be in contention for the win."
Ferrari will once again use the older F2001 chassis in Malaysia but the German is confident it's just as competitive as other teams' new cars. "In Australia, we saw that our car is not inferior to our rivals' 2002 cars," he said. "Both in general and specifically, in terms of speed. It is an advantage knowing our car so well, because we did a perfect job working on set- up over the weekend. I don't see why things should be different in Malaysia, especially in the unique conditions we will encounter there. I am in total agreement with the team's decision, even if testing results with the new car have been very encouraging."
The extreme climate of Malaysia means that drivers and teams can be affected; Schumacher has been in the country since the weekend to prepare: "It is very important to get used to the Malaysian climate. Sepang is definitely the toughest and most demanding race physically. That's why we decided not to return to Europe." He explained.