Hot on the heels of Canada, the Formula One world championship moves on to Indianapolis for its fourth race in five weekends. Michelin first competed at America's most famous motorsport venue in 2001 and has frequently shown race-winning pace, although a variety of circumstances have so far prevented the company breaking its victory duck. Michelin has a very successful F1 track record elsewhere in the United States, however.
It has scored nine of its 73 world championship victories here, courtesy of Carlos Reutemann (Ferrari, Long Beach 1978 and Watkins Glen 1978), Gilles Villeneuve (Ferrari, Long Beach 1979 and Watkins Glen 1979), Alan Jones (Williams, Long Beach 1981), Niki Lauda (McLaren, Long Beach 1982), John Watson (McLaren, Detroit 1982 and Long Beach 1983) and Nelson Piquet (Brabham, Detroit 1984). Michelin's six partner teams and 12 drivers aim to add to that proud record on Sunday.
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:
"Michelin enjoys the challenge of Indianapolis. It's a circuit of stark contrasts with the longest straight of the season and a tight infield section. It is a challenge for tyre manufacturers to develop tyres that will withstand the build-up of heat generated by more than 20 seconds on full throttle yet provide enough grip to maximise traction through the tighter parts of the track. I am confident our tyres will be capable of repeating the front-running performance they have shown here in the past."
Pascal Vasselon, Michelin F1 programme manager:
"The Indianapolis track is obviously highly specific, but not in fact exactly for the reasons you might imagine. The banking is not that difficult for the tyres, despite the extreme loads and speeds, since this helps get the tyres up to temperature more easily. In wet or dry conditions, a good first lap is therefore not a problem. We of course took this into account when finalising our choice of tyres, which we did following tests at Monza and Silverstone. We will have just two types of tyres available at Indy for our partner- teams."
Mike Gascoyne Toyota technical director:
"Indianapolis is unique on the world championship calendar because no other track requires drivers to maintain constant full throttle for such a long time during the course of a lap. That leads us to run with relatively light downforce, which optimises performance through the banked final corner and down the main straight but compromises traction in the tight infield section. That puts quite a strain on rear tyres. We recently went to Monza, which has a number of characteristics in common with Indy, to evaluate a range of Michelin compounds. They proved to be fast and consistent in equal measure -- and in terms of tyre performance that's a good omen for this weekend."