Jaguar focus on understanding tyres Jaguar focus on understanding tyres

Jaguar Racing is working hard to get the optimum from the Michelin tyres and understanding tyre behavior is a focus of its winter test programme. Six of the ten teams on the grid will run on Michelins in 2004, now that BAR has switched to the French manufacturer, and Jaguar is hoping to get a better insight to how the rubber reacts during a race.

Mark Webber.
Photo by Michael Kim.
"The big phase we're working on is trying to understand what our tyres are going through. It sounds pretty straightforward but it's not," Mark Webber told the team website. "Michelin are doing an amazing job for us and all the other Michelin teams but we need to understand what we're putting the tyre through a little more so we can make them behave better during a grand prix."

Of course, tyres are not the only items that needs to be worked on: "That's one of the big things -- and to understand our vehicle dynamics, push forward with the engine side, especially with the one engine per weekend regulations, and work on aerodynamics," Webber added. "Those things are big, deep programmes that will take months."

Michelin certainly proved its progress on track this season and there has been perhaps a little unease in the Bridgestone camp that 2004 could be an even tougher fight between the two manufacturers. A Bridgestone source was quoted recently as saying there was 'some concern' about the Michelin teams' pace in the winter tests.

Rubens Barrichello, whose Ferrari runs on Bridgestones, is interested to see how Michelin will perform next season. "The improvement Michelin made in 2003 was impressive," the Brazilian admitted. "If they make another one like that next year, we will have to catch up."