French GP: Michelin preview

Home sweet home This weekend Michelin's Formula One partners are heading to Magny-Cours, near Nevers -- not too far from the company's general headquarters -- for the ninth round of the FIA Formula One World Championship. Michelin motorsport...

Home sweet home

This weekend Michelin's Formula One partners are heading to Magny-Cours, near Nevers -- not too far from the company's general headquarters -- for the ninth round of the FIA Formula One World Championship.

Michelin motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier says: "We scored a superb victory at the Nürburgring last Sunday. Will be able to summon up a repeat performance on home soil? That's not really a question we have asked ourselves."

"Reflecting on the past few races it certainly appears as though we have provided our partners with extremely competitive tyres and they are making good use of them. For us, though, the French Grand Prix is a race just like any other. We don't have a great deal of track experience, either, because we don't do any private testing here."

"Teams are adopting a variety of tactical approaches this season and there have been a number of race incidents. As a result every event has had a slightly different flavour and everybody has enjoyed this element of unpredictability. Some cars work more effectively at certain circuits than others and competition between the tyre manufacturers and leading drivers means that almost anything can happen at each event."

"We don't know what the weather will be like this weekend at Magny-Cours, but there is no guarantee of blazing sunshine. We'll just have to see what Fate has in store."

Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team driver)

"Our tyres should be really competitive in Magny-Cours. As we have seen especially in the last few races, Michelin has gained the upper hand in the tyre war and on their home ground they might aim to perform at the top even if they might be a bit more under pressure. With the help of our tyres I hope I'll be able to double the pole position I set there in 2002 and possibly take advantage of it, unlike I did last year, when I finished fourth."

Technically speaking, with Pascal Vasselon (F1 project manager)

Can you feel the force?
"Magny-Cours has a very particular feature. For 95 per cent of the lap it's a conventional circuit like most of the others, but our front tyres' rate of wear is governed uniquely by cars' performance through Estoril -- a long, ultra-fast right-hander."

Middle of the road
"Magny-Cours is moderately abrasive and we bring tyres from the medium sector of our range. Our choice is dictated by the ultra-high loads generated through Estoril corner, without which we could run much softer tyres. We have evaluated a range of possibilities for Magny-Cours and finally hit upon four dry-weather options that will be available to our partners."

Altered images
"Last season this was a two-stop race, but this year's revised regulations and changes to the circuit layout, which affect the pit lane entry, mean that a three-stop strategy might be a viable option. During free practice teams will be able to calculate how long pit stops might take."

Who's fuelling who?
"Cars lose about 0.3 seconds per lap for every extra 10kg of fuel they carry."

-michelin-

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