Belgium GP: Michelin preview

2002 FIA Formula One World Championship Belgium Grand Prix - Spa - Sunday September 1st Ralf Schumacher (BMW WilliamsF1 Team/Michelin) came closest to matching the Ferraris pace during the previous race in Hungary and was rewarded with a podium...

2002 FIA Formula One World Championship Belgium Grand Prix - Spa - Sunday September 1st

Ralf Schumacher (BMW WilliamsF1 Team/Michelin) came closest to matching the Ferraris pace during the previous race in Hungary and was rewarded with a podium finish. Kimi Räikkönen might have qualified an uncharacteristically modest 11th, but he drove his Michelin-shod West McLaren-Mercedes perfectly in the race and moved up to fourth place at a track where making progress is traditionally very difficult.

Michelin motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier says: "After looking at the qualifying results in Budapest we thought we might have opted for tyre compounds that were a bit too hard, but the race performance of both McLaren-Mercedes drivers suggested that we were actually in quite good shape. We were much more competitive in Budapest than we were last year and it was pleasing to see such solid progress at a track that proved to be one of the most difficult for us during our comeback season in 2001."

Spa: land of the brave--

Only stout hearts need apply The Belgian Grand Prix's host venue Spa-Francorchamps is a natural road circuit located in the heart of the Ardennes forest, about 50 km (30 miles) from Liège, and it conjures many vivid racing memories. The track features several quick-corner sequences taken at about 300 km/h (186mph) and setting up a car is a delicate matter. Drivers need good top-end speed to minimize the risk of being overtaken at the end of the straight leading into Les Combes or under braking for the La Source hairpin, but they also need a fair degree of aerodynamic downforce to generate adequate grip elsewhere on the track.

Michelin's F1 project manager Pascal Vasselon says: "Spa incorporates the two fastest corners we have to deal with all season : Eau Rouge and Blanchimont. But unlike Monza, where cars run in low-downforce trim to gain time, you can't risk stripping away all the aerodynamic downforce at Spa because you would lose out too much in certain of the quicker corners."As far as tyre compounds are concerned, we will be looking at the middle sector of our range while keeping a close eye on the potentially variable climate. We are working on three different options for the dry and won't decide which two to take until Wednesday, once we have the most up-to-date weather forecasts."

-michelin-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Ralf Schumacher , Kimi Raikkonen
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , McLaren , Williams