The 2004 world championship continues this weekend at the Circuit de Catalunya - the world's busiest Formula One venue. As well as being the Spanish Grand Prix's permanent home since 1991, Barcelona's favourable climate makes it most teams' ...
The 2004 world championship continues this weekend at the Circuit de Catalunya - the world's busiest Formula One venue. As well as being the Spanish Grand Prix's permanent home since 1991, Barcelona's favourable climate makes it most teams' preferred choice for development testing.
In last season's corresponding fixture, local favourite Fernando Alonso (Renault/Michelin) emerged as a national sporting hero after a strong run to second place, just six seconds behind the winner. This year Michelin aims to go one better as it pursues its 73rd world championship grand prix success in conjunction with its six partners - B*A*R-Honda, BMW WilliamsF1 Team, Jaguar Racing, Renault F1, Team McLaren Mercedes and Toyota.
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:
"This race presents us with something of a paradox. Obviously we know the track very well, because our partner teams accumulate many thousands of kilometres here during winter testing. Temperatures are much cooler at that time of year than they are likely to be this weekend, however, so we can't rely on that data alone when evaluating our options for the grand prix. It is well known that Barcelona is one of the most demanding circuits in terms of tyre wear, but that doesn't cause us any particular concerns. We are used to dealing with a wide variety of conditions. Our tyres have been very well suited to every track on which we have raced this season and I expect that to be the case once again this weekend."
Pascal Vasselon, Michelin Formula One programme manager:
"We began working on a specific range of race options for Barcelona a few weeks ago and finalised them recently after a test at Silverstone. We will offer our partner teams a selection of three dry-weather compounds. For the first time this season we will be using tyres from the harder end of our spectrum - very different from those we took to the previous race in Imola. Barcelona is one of the season's most challenging tracks for a tyre manufacturer. The asphalt isn't a great deal more abrasive than that used elsewhere, but the layout of the circuit puts a real strain on rubber because there are so many long, high-speed corners."
Jarno Trulli, Mild Seven Renault F1:
"Racing at home is always something to look forward to. The fans were fantastic last season - about 95 per cent of them seemed to be supporting Renault - and that is a definite boost. That doesn't put me under extra pressure, it just makes me even more motivated. We will set up our R24 chassis to suit the latest tyre compounds and I have every confidence that Michelin will have some excellent options. It knows the circuit intimately and its tyres proved to be very good in Barcelona last season."