European GP: Michelin preview

"Having dealt with the twists and turns of Monaco and the very particular characteristics of the ÃŽle Notre Dame in Montreal, we have to be prepared for a completely different set of circumstances when we get to Germany's Eifel region," says ...

"Having dealt with the twists and turns of Monaco and the very particular characteristics of the Île Notre Dame in Montreal, we have to be prepared for a completely different set of circumstances when we get to Germany's Eifel region," says Michelin motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier.

"In Monaco, cars run with maximum possible downforce. This doesn't compromise their performance, however, because top-end speeds are relatively low, other than in the tunnel. In Montreal cars travel much faster down the long straights, so you need a slick aero package. That said, you also have to conserve a reasonable amount of downforce to cope with the high-speed corners in sector one as well as a couple of fierce braking zones.

"At the Nürburgring the situation is different again and it is more vital than ever to strike the right aerodynamic balance. You have to generate sufficient downforce without creating too much drag. This will be a good barometer of how our five partner teams might perform towards the end of the season, when we run at other circuits that demand a similar compromise.

"There are quite a few wild cards this weekend, because there has been some resurfacing work at the Nürburgring, track temperatures might be anything between 8° and 40° and none of the Formula One teams tests here very often. We believe we have given our partners a clear performance advantage in recent races and, naturally, that is our goal once again this weekend. All will be revealed on Sunday afternoon."

Technically speaking, with Pascal Vasselon (F1 project manager)

Eifel power
"The Nürburgring circuit doesn't pose any particular technical problems. It features a mixture of high- and low-speed corners and average lap speeds are about 206 km/h (128 mph). Quite high loads are placed on both front and rear tyres, but they tend to wear at a similar rate. Such characteristics aren't particularly common."

All for one, four for all
"As has been the case at most recent races, we will be taking five dry-weather options to the Nürburgring -- that's to say three different constructions and three compounds. Here, a tyre's contact ratio is about average so wear rates are not excessive -- and that allows us to use products from the softer end of our range. It isn't an entirely straightforward choice, however, because we have to bear in mind the possibility of widely fluctuating temperatures."

Keep on runnin'
"It is up to the drivers whether they want to change front or rear tyres when they make a scheduled mid-race pit stop. Our front tyres are so consistent that using the same set for a second stint will be a valid option, just as it was in Montreal."

Stop tips
"Race tactics are conditioned by fuel loads and I don't think we'll see anybody attempt a one-stop strategy at the Nürburgring. Stops take 32-33 seconds if all goes smoothly and I think drivers will make two or three during the Grand Prix of Europe."

Weights and measures
"On this track, every extra 10 kg of fuel slows cars by a little more than 0.3 seconds per lap."

-michelin-

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Series Formula 1