McLaren looking for tyre alliance

McLaren looking for tyre alliance

McLaren's managing director Martin Whitmarsh thinks working together with Williams to develop Michelin tyres could help close the gap to Bridgestone shod Ferrari. While the latter partnership goes from strength to strength, Michelin have struggled...

McLaren's managing director Martin Whitmarsh thinks working together with Williams to develop Michelin tyres could help close the gap to Bridgestone shod Ferrari. While the latter partnership goes from strength to strength, Michelin have struggled with tyre reliability and an alliance between the two Michelin front runners could help progress.

"We're working bloody hard to beat them (Williams) and they're working very hard to beat us. So we're not going to share everything," Whitmarsh told Reuters. "But where there's a clear common interest, and there's none more obvious than tyres at the moment, then we (Williams and McLaren) are going to work together."

At the Belgian Grand Prix Michelin runners outnumbered Bridgestone in the top ten in qualifying by eight to two -- the two Ferraris -- but Bridgestone were still the winners in the race. McLaren switched to Michelin for this season and Whitmarsh believes McLaren and Williams should look at areas that can provide mutual benefits.

"We've got to recognise that we've got a common interest to get on and work with development of the tyres," he said. "Providing we can harmonise our requirements then I think we can do a better job than one team. But clearly it requires us both to want the same things."

Juan Pablo Montoya and David Coulthard.
Photo by BMW PressClub.
"I think we've got to take the next steps really. We've got to work stronger together to say 'look, here are the areas of common interest.' I think there's an awful lot of things where, when we speak to Williams and share some notes, actually we are much more closely aligned in our requests and our requirements."

"If we can work with any team, its Williams. The relationship between Williams and McLaren has always been competitive but with a tremendous amount of mutual respect and pragmatism. So if we could have a relationship that works in co- developing tyres with any team it would be with Williams. At all levels there is mutual respect."

"They are a team that I think has the same standards and the same approach to going motor racing as ourselves so on every front, not just on tyres, there's always been a strong alliance between the teams."

Whitmarsh thinks perhaps the development could be shared in test programmes: "It would be a case of saying 'Okay, we trust the way in which you go about testing, we trust the feedback you're going to give us, so you go away and do some work on the wets or work on the tyres for Monza and we'll work on the tyres for Indianapolis'. I think everyone's sensible enough to realise that's the best way to work."

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