Italian GP Michelin preview

FIA Formula One World Championship 2001 Italian Grand Prix ­ Monza - Sunday, September 16 2001 Giancarlo Fisichella (Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport/Michelin) made a fantastic start and competed head-to-head with the two McLarens and ...

FIA Formula One World Championship 2001
Italian Grand Prix ­ Monza - Sunday, September 16 2001

Giancarlo Fisichella (Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport/Michelin) made a fantastic start and competed head-to-head with the two McLarens and Rubens Barrichello's Ferrari in the previous world championship race at Spa-Francorchamps, where he finished third.

Michelin motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier says: "That was an excellent barometer of the progress made by Renault Sport and Benetton, but even so you still needed a good tyre to finish in the top three during the Belgian Grand Prix."

The final result could have been better still for Michelin, because the Williams-BMWs-Michelin of Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher qualified first and second fastest, while Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Prost-Acer) lined up fourth.

Michelin's F1 project manager Pascal Vasselon says: "Technically speaking, Spa was an extremely positive and productive weekend for us. We were consistently competitive in wet conditions ­ and even more so when the track was in the process of drying out. The success of our grooved tyres on a slightly wet track eclipsed the performance of our intermediates, but if we make a detailed evaluation of our qualifying times against those of the opposition, we weren't at a disadvantage if you compare like with like."

Monza ... a temple of pure speed

The famous Autodromo Nazionale di Monza lies 15 km (10 miles) to the north of Milan, at the heart of a municipal park. Built in 1922, it is the oldest operational circuit in Europe and one of the fastest of the F1 season. Average lap speeds exceed 250 km/h (155 mph) and cars touch 355 km/h (220 mph) at the fastest parts of the track. The circuit measures 5.793 km (3.599 miles) and the races lasts 53 laps, a total distance of 306.764 km (190.747 miles).

Pierre Dupasquier says: "Unlike Spa, where we had no prior relevant experience, we have tested at Monza ­ although that doesn't necessarily put us in a stronger position. Technically, the Italian GP isn't an easy race for tyre manufacturers. The high average lap speeds and three vital corners ­ Curva Grande, Lesmo and Parabolica ­ put a great strain on our tyres so we have to produce something that is sound in terms of construction and compound."

Pascal Vasselon adds: "Unlike some circuits, we are coming to Spa with tyres that have been developed directly as a consequence of our test programme. At this track, the trick is to control tread temperatures that are a consequence of the high speeds without sacrificing grip. Our two compounds incorporate revisions in terms of construction."

The final word goes to Dupasquier: "If I can say one more thing about Spa, it was nice to silence everyone who thought our tyres only worked in warm temperatures... and that we were able to lock out the front row in cool, damp conditions."

-Michelin

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