British GP: Michelin preview

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Silverstone, home of this weekend’s British Grand Prix, is one of Formula One’s most famous venues. The former military airfield staged the very first world championship event on May 13 1950 (when Alfa Romeo driver Giuseppe Farina led home the 21-car field) and this year’s grand prix will be its 39th – only Monza and Monaco have hosted more.

The circuit also has a special place in Michelin’s history, because it was here – on July 16 1977 – that Bibendum competed in its first F1 race. Renault driver Jean-Pierre Jabouille retired that day, but Michelin’s pioneering radial rubber was subsequently adopted by all manufacturers and remains the technology of choice in contemporary F1.

This year’s race will be the 55th British GP – the event has also taken place at Brands Hatch (on 12 occasions) and Aintree (five) – and Michelin has won five times, with Carlos Reutemann (Ferrari, 1978), John Watson (McLaren-Ford, 1981), Niki Lauda (McLaren-Ford, 1982 and McLaren-TAG Turbo, 1984) and Alain Prost (Renault, 1983). This weekend the company will be looking for its first British GP success since it ended its 17- season F1 sabbatical in 2001.

Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:

“Unlike Magny-Cours, where we won last weekend’s French Grand Prix, Silverstone is a track our engineers know very well because we conduct a number of test sessions here throughout the year. Silverstone features a number of rapid directional changes and it is very important to have a chassis with good stability."

"Furthermore, the asphalt tends to be quite abrasive and the high-speed corners put a significant lateral load on tyres, which makes this one of the most challenging venues of the season from our perspective."

“With these parameters in mind, Michelin’s partner teams will each be able to choose two of four available tyre compounds from the harder end of our range. “Variable weather can also influence the outcome at Silverstone, but come rain or shine I hope that Michelin will once again demonstrate the winning edge that has been a hallmark of the 2005 Formula One season.”

Driver perspective:
David Coulthard, Red Bull Racing:

“There is no individual section that’s the key to a good lap at Silverstone. Nailing Becketts – a high- speed corner with a sudden change of direction – always helps and is particularly satisfying from a driver’s point of view."

"With regard to optimising tyre wear, all a driver can do is ensure his chassis is well set up – balance and consistency are definitely the key. Silverstone is one of my favourite tracks and I love driving there.”

-michelin-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers David Coulthard , Carlos Reutemann , Niki Lauda , Jean-Pierre Jabouille , Alain Prost , John Watson
Teams Ferrari , Red Bull Racing , McLaren