German GP: Michelin preview

Michelin and its six Formula One partners have been involved in an intensive development programme during preparation for this weekend's 12th round of the world championship - the last before the sport takes a short mid-summer break. Teams have ...

Michelin and its six Formula One partners have been involved in an intensive development programme during preparation for this weekend's 12th round of the world championship - the last before the sport takes a short mid-summer break. Teams have taken part in test sessions in France (Le Castellet), Spain (Jerez) and England (Silverstone) to finalise a range of dry-weather tyre options for Sunday's race.

This will be the 52nd German GP to count towards the world championship and Hockenheim is staging the event for the 28th time. It used to be one of the fastest circuits on the F1 schedule, but its long, flat-out straights were consigned to history when the layout was altered in 2002. Ralf Schumacher (BMW WilliamsF1 Team/ Michelin) won the last F1 race to take place at the high-speed Hockenheim in 2001. Last season Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) scored Michelin's first success at the updated track, when the company's partner teams completed a spectacular clean sweep of the top six.

Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:

"Things could hardly have gone better for us in last year's corresponding fixture. We obtained pole position, won the race, monopolised the top six positions and set fastest lap. That's a good omen - but the most important thing is that our most recent tyre tests have delivered extremely encouraging results. It promises to be an interesting weekend. We are fortunate to have great strength in depth with our partner teams and some of them are due to introduce some significant developments this weekend."

Pascal Vasselon, Michelin F1 programme manager:

"The latest circuit has naturally lost some of its predecessor's individuality, following the disappearance of the long, forest-lined straights. The challenge for Michelin hasn't altered a great deal, however because Hockenheim continues to put a great deal of strain on rear tyres."

"Drivers still have to deal with a number of quick corners. What's more, the asphalt in the stadium section is fairly old and doesn't generate much grip, so cars tend to slide around and that causes a build-up of heat in the rears. In last season's corresponding fixture, the fierce ambient heat generated track temperatures of about 55°C. Things are likely to be more normal this weekend, but we selected three dry-weather tyre compounds in the wake of last week's test at Jerez and they should all be able to cope with extreme heat if the need arises."

Team perspective:
Sam Michael, technical director, BMW WilliamsF1 Team:

"Michelin produced fantastic tyres that enabled us to dominate at Hockenheim in 2003. It is quite a fine balance when trying to run relatively soft compounds and there is a big penalty to pay if you go too far. We have spent the last two tests developing suitable compounds for this track and I'm confident that we'll be strong."

-michelin-

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