After three races on as many continents at the start of the season, Formula One is poised to return to its European heartland. This will be the 25th world championship grand prix staged at Imola and the 24th to fly the San Marino flag. Nelson...
After three races on as many continents at the start of the season, Formula One is poised to return to its European heartland. This will be the 25th world championship grand prix staged at Imola and the 24th to fly the San Marino flag. Nelson Piquet (Brabham-Ford/Michelin) won the first of these in 1981.
Bibendum also scored significant victories at this circuit during its farewell campaign in 1984 (Alain Prost, McLaren-TAG Turbo) and 2001, when Ralf Schumacher (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) scored a dominant success just four races into Michelin's comeback season. Michelin and its six partner teams have carried out some productive development work since the Bahrain GP and the company will be chasing its 73rd F1 grand prix victory on Sunday.
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:
"I have fond memories of Imola 2001, when Michelin underlined its capacity to make effective F1 tyres within a couple of months of returning to the sport. Will we be able to score our first victory of the season in San Marino this year? Well, we have done a considerable amount of testing since the last race in Bahrain and the results are most encouraging. It is poised to be a fiercely competitive weekend and I am confident that our tyres will be up to the task."
Pascal Vasselon, Michelin Formula One programme manager:
"We finalised our tyre options for the San Marino Grand Prix after completing a series of tests with our partner teams at Paul Ricard last week. We will take three dry-weather compounds to this event and none has previously been used during a race weekend. For the first time this season we will be using tyres from the 'softer' end of our range. Imola has quite a short pit entry and exit, so tactical stops take less time than they do at other circuits - and that is particularly the case this season, with the new 100 km/h limit in force on Sunday. That opens up fresh strategic possibilities."
Jarno Trulli, Mild Seven Renault F1:
"One of the key factors is the amount of fierce braking we do during the course of a lap. We need tyres that provide good grip in such extreme circumstances, so that the chassis remains stable. The kerbs play a part, too, because you have to use them quite aggressively if you want to set a decent time. Providing you find a good set-up, though, this doesn't place a great deal of extra strain on the tyres."