British GP: Michelin preview

Michelin's five Formula One partners will come to the British Grand Prix in a positive frame of mind -- and that should come as no surprise. The Clermont-Ferrand company is riding the crest of a wave after securing successive one-two finishes with...

Michelin's five Formula One partners will come to the British Grand Prix in a positive frame of mind -- and that should come as no surprise. The Clermont-Ferrand company is riding the crest of a wave after securing successive one-two finishes with the BMW WilliamsF1 Team, which recently stole the show at the Nürburgring, Germany and Magny-Cours, France.

Michelin motorsport director Pierre Dupaquier said: "The BMW WilliamsF1 Team has earned everybody's respect by hitting such a rich vein of form, not least because we all know how hard it is to set such high standards in F1 without making any mistakes.

"And it wasn't only the performance of Williams and BMW that put us in such good heart after the previous race at Magny-Cours. West McLaren Mercedes was unlucky not to take third and fourth places, both Renaults were well placed when forced to retire, Mark Webber finished sixth for Jaguar and Olivier Panis picked up a point for Panasonic Toyota Racing.

"No question, Michelin's tyres have been performing remarkably well -- but that won't make us complacent because we know how much has still to be done. We must keep working hard to push forward our product development and generate an even more effective relationship between our tyres and the cars to which they are fitted."

Technically speaking, with Pascal Vasselon (F1 project manager)

The challenge?
"Silverstone is a very different proposition from Magny-Cours, where we raced two weeks ago. Various chicanes have been added over the years to increase overall lap times, but average speeds are still nudging 235 km/h (145 mph) so it remains one of the quickest circuits we race on in F1. There are several long, high-speed corners that place a great lateral load on tyres. The surface is quite porous, too, and that takes its toll on the rubber. As far as temperatures go, they tend to be lower than those at some circuits we've raced at recently."

Our solution
"Last week we went to Barcelona to conduct an extensive series of tests that helped us finalise our options for Silverstone. Throughout most of the first half of the season we have used tyres from the softer end of our range, but we are just starting to focus on harder compounds for the tracks that lie ahead. We will have three tyres at Silverstone -- and all are a product of the work we did during our most recent tests."

And if it rains?
"At Magny-Cours we experienced familiar, European-style wet weather and were able to underline that our tyres are competitive in such conditions. Last year our intermediate tyre had a working "window" which had two strong points and one weak point :it was able to work well at the start in the rain and was equally good at the end in the dry. However, it was less effective when the track was damp. We have since corrected that characteristic."

Strategic options
"Last season the rain upset the planned strategies; this time I expect teams to stop two or even three times. The pit lane here is quite long and each pit visit is likely to cost 33 to 34 seconds."

Fuel gauge
"A heavy fuel load is quite costly here in performance terms: every extra 10kg will cost drivers 0.35 to 0.4 seconds per lap."

-michelin-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Mark Webber , Olivier Panis
Teams Mercedes , McLaren , Williams , Toyota Racing