Canadian GP: Michelin preview

NEW TRACK SURFACE CHALLENGE FOR MICHELIN The Formula One world championship begins its mid-season North American tour this weekend in Montreal, Canada. Unbeaten so far in 2005, Michelin will be chasing a ninth straight grand prix victory & ...

NEW TRACK SURFACE CHALLENGE FOR MICHELIN

The Formula One world championship begins its mid-season North American tour this weekend in Montreal, Canada. Unbeaten so far in 2005, Michelin will be chasing a ninth straight grand prix victory – a dominant run that stretches back to Brazil last October.

In addition to winning the first seven races of the campaign, Michelin’s partner teams have recorded 18 podium finishes (from a possible 21), scored 242 of the 273 available points and annexed 49 of 56 top-eight finishes.

The Canadian Grand Prix was first staged in 1967 and has featured on the calendar for all but two seasons since. This year’s event will be the 37th to count towards the world championship and the 27th in Montreal. The race has also been staged twice at Mont Tremblant, 145 kilometres (90 miles) north of its current home, and eight times at Mosport Park, Ontario.

The Montreal circuit is located on the picturesque Île Notre Dame, which lies between the St Lawrence River and St Lawrence Seaway. Originally built to host the 1967 World Fair, the Île Notre Dame was also the setting for rowing events during the 1976 Olympic Games. The racing circuit was built two years later.

The track is named after legendary Canadian Gilles Villeneuve, who won the inaugural F1 race here on October 8 1978 – at the wheel of a Michelin-shod Ferrari 312 T3. Jacques Laffite (Ligier-Matra, 1981), Nelson Piquet (Brabham-BMW, 1984) and Ralf Schumacher (Williams-BMW, 2001) have also won the Canadian GP on Michelin tyres. In last year’s corresponding fixture Jenson Button (B*A*R-Honda) was Michelin’s leading finisher, in third place.

Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:

“In common with certain other circuits on the calendar, Montreal features a blend of high-speed straights, tight corners and heavy braking zones. Drivers negotiate the chicanes at relatively low speeds – about 80-120 km/h (50-75 mph) – and it is vital to gauge your traction control settings correctly to optimise exit speeds onto the long straights."

“The absence of quick corners and the frequent need for hard acceleration places a great deal of emphasis on rear-tyre performance – and the possibility of hot ambient temperatures increases the potential strain. You have to take care not to let the rear wheels spin too much, because that accelerates wear rates. To counter this phenomenon, we will offer our partner teams tyres with fairly stiff sidewall constructions."

“The Montreal circuit has been completely resurfaced since last season. Our engineers have taken a look at the track and their research indicates that the asphalt won’t be particularly abrasive. That said, it is completely new and has yet to be tested by any racing cars. It is likely that track conditions will evolve significantly throughout the weekend, largely due to the chemical reactions that are an unpredictable by-product of any freshly-laid surface.”

Driver perspective
Mark Webber, BMW WilliamsF1 Team:

“Montreal is similar to a street circuit in character, because it tends to be very dusty at the beginning of a race weekend. It incorporates several ‘traction events’, where you need the car to provide as much grip as possible under hard acceleration from slow corners."

"It is imperative to get your traction control settings and suspension configuration right, so that you don’t put too much of a strain on tyres – especially now that one set has to last a full race distance. Although most of the corners are fairly slow, we approach them at very high speed and that puts a premium on tyre performance during deceleration – you need your front tyres to be stiff enough to enhance braking stability.”

Technical focus “Tyres changes during the race”

Nick Shorrock, Director of Michelin F1 activities:

“The FIA regulations state that ‘Unless a precautionary tyre change is necessary for clear and genuine safety reasons, only a punctured or damaged tyre may be changed during a race.”

“With the regulations that are in place this year, whereby both the qualifying session and the race have to be undertaken with the same set of tyres, a certain number of measures were put into place to ensure that teams are not tempted to try to programme strategic tyre changed."

"For this reason the FIA carries out the necessary checks and maintains the right to judge the basis of any tyre changed. The FIA could for example impose a penalty if it saw fit.”

“As for the tyre manufacturer, it is its responsibility to ensure it provides the appropriate product, taking fully into account all aspects of safety, and to provide the necessary advice on tyre use throughout the weekend. However, the ultimate decision as to the choice of strategy to be adopted remains entirely in the hands of each team’s management.”

-michelin-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Ralf Schumacher , Mark Webber , Gilles Villeneuve , Nelson Piquet , Jacques Laffite
Teams Ferrari , Williams