French GP: Michelin preview

In the previous round of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) gave Michelin its fourth consecutive pole position and came home a strong third in the ...

In the previous round of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) gave Michelin its fourth consecutive pole position and came home a strong third in the race.

Michelin's motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier says: "To understand how the last race evolved you needed to have your eyes riveted to how cars were performing with every passing lap, because track conditions were constantly changing from dry to intermediate to wet."

"We drew two conclusions from what we saw. For reasons that aren't yet clear, the bad news was that in dry conditions Juan Pablo Montoya was unable to outpace Michael Schumacher's Ferrari, despite having the same material at his disposal that had allowed him to take another brilliant pole position."

"The good? The wet- and intermediate-tyre performance of Michelin-equipped cars proved to be very competitive against those of teams that traditionally excel in such conditions using our Japanese rival's products. I'm obviously not including Ferrari when I say this, because its cars were two to three seconds per lap quicker than all the others - again for reasons that remain unknown to us."

Feeling at home in Nevers

For this weekend's 11th round of the 2002 FIA Formula One World Championship, Michelin and its partner teams have travelled to the Magny-Cours circuit near Nevers, not too far from our headquarters in Clermont-Ferrand.

Although it is nice for Michelin to be racing so close to home, that won't alter the company's attitude to the task in hand. Pierre Dupasquier says: "Together with our partners we take the same approach to every race and must treat Magny-Cours as a track just like any other."

The French GP's host circuit has very particular characteristics, although it incorporates elements similar to those found on other grand prix tracks all over the world. As a result you find a blend of very different corners from the ultra-fast right-hand sweep of Estoril to the relatively slow Adelaide hairpin.

Pascal Vasselon is head of Michelin's Formula One programme. He says: "To deal with the challenge of Magny-Cours we will use two dry-weather compounds from the middle part of our range. One has been used before, the other is new and a recent test session highlighted its effectiveness. In addition, if the weather should take a turn for the worse we have a new intermediate tyre for our partners to try."

-michelin-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Williams