MICHELIN WRAPS UP FORMULA ONE TITLE DOUBLE In its final scheduled Formula One appearance, Michelin has completed a clean sweep of this year's world championship titles. Fernando Alonso (Renault) finished second to become the sport's youngest ...
MICHELIN WRAPS UP FORMULA ONE TITLE DOUBLE
In its final scheduled Formula One appearance, Michelin has completed a clean sweep of this year's world championship titles. Fernando Alonso (Renault) finished second to become the sport's youngest double world champion - and that result helped his team secure the world championship for constructors for the second consecutive season. Renault clinched the championship for constructors in today's season-closing Brazilian Grand Prix. Six seasons after returning to F1, Michelin is bowing out with its head held high.
To cap an excellent day for Michelin, six of its drivers achieved points-scoring finishes in the season's 18th and final grand prix. Jenson Button (Honda) took third ahead of Kimi Räikkönen (McLaren Mercedes, fifth), Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault, sixth), Rubens Barrichello (Honda, seventh) and Pedro de la Rosa (McLaren Mercedes, eighth).
In addition to its spectacular success in Formula One this season, Michelin has accumulated many motorsport victories on two wheels and four. With one round of the MotoGP series to go, Michelin is already guaranteed this year's title - its 26th in motorcycle racing's premier category and its fifth on the trot in MotoGP. So far this season, the company has notched up 13 wins, 10 pole positions and 39 podiums.
Michelin took a clean sweep of the top 13 places in the Le Mans 24 Hours, to extend a winning streak that dates back to 1998. It was the company's15th outright success in this event, the most prestigious - and taxing - of all endurance races. It has also won the American Le Mans Series and Le Mans Series titles.
For the first time, Michelin has participated under the banner of subsidiary BFGoodrich in this year's World Rally Championship but the change of branding has made no difference to its customarily high level of performance: another world title double is already assured. BFGoodrich also won the Dakar Rally and FIA Cross-Country World Cup - two more landmark successes that underline the Michelin Group's status as the world's most versatile supplier of competition tyres.
Nick Shorrock, Michelin F1 director:
"Today's higher temperatures caused us a few concerns before the race, because they were some way beyond the ideal operating window of certain partners' tyre choices. As things turned out, though, we had no problems at all. The tyres held up very well and were extremely consistent throughout the race."
"The main thing today, naturally, is to compliment Fernando Alonso and Renault on retaining their two world titles and to thank all our partners for the excellent work they have put in throughout the year. Our main rival was clearly very fast today, but one or two incidents worked in our favour during the race's early stages. That's the nature of this sport."
"This year's world championship was decided not today but over the course of a long, 18-race season and Michelin has proved the excellence of its products throughout the campaign. We were determined to go out in style in our farewell F1 season and I think the results speak for themselves."
"I would like to extend my gratitude to all Michelin team members at the track, in the factory, at the research centre and within our logistics group. Every one of them has played a part in our many successes."
Michel Rollier - Michelin CEO:
"I am very proud of the Michelin team, which knew how to fulfil the needs of Fernando Alonso and Renault. This has been an exciting season and the fierce competition between the two tyre companies provided an extra element of interest. I would like to thank Fernando Alonso and the whole Renault team for the confidence they have shown in us throughout the campaign - and also for helping to push us to such heights."
"At this time, naturally, my thoughts turn to the late Edouard Michelin who was always the driving force behind Michelin's participation in Formula One. I would like to dedicate this year's double title success to him."
Alain Dassas, president, Renault F1 Team:
"To win two consecutive world titles is an extraordinary achievement- but it didn't happen by chance. It underlines the excellent performance of our whole team and proves that Renault and Michelin know how to work and win together. It has been an emotional day in many ways and my thoughts turned, naturally, to the late Edouard Michelin, who inspired his company to embark upon this great F1 adventure. It's a pity that our relationship must end here but this is a fantastic note on which to finish."
BIBENDUM IN FORMULA ONE - THE KEY STATISTICS
Michelin made its first F1 world championship appearance at Silverstone, Great Britain, on July 14- 16 1977. Jean-Pierre Jabouille's Renault - the first turbocharged car to compete in F1 - retired from the race, but Michelin's pioneering radial technology became the industry standard and remains so to this day.
Carlos Reutemann (Ferrari) scored Michelin's maiden F1 victory - the first for a radial-tyred car - on January 29 1978 at the Jacarepagua circuit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Ferrari was the first Michelin team to win the F1 world championship for constructors, with Jody Scheckter in 1979. McLaren scored the company's second such success, with Niki Lauda in 1984. In addition to its four constructors' titles, Michelin has supplied five champion drivers - Scheckter, Nelson Piquet (Brabham-BMW, 1983), Lauda and, for the past two seasons, Fernando Alonso (Renault).
Michelin's first F1 stint lasted from July 1977 until October 1984. During that time it scored 59 F1 victories - more than any other tyre company.
Since returning to the sport in 2001, Michelin has increased its victory tally to 102 from 216 starts. It has also recorded 111 pole positions and 108 fastest race laps. Ralf Schumacher (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) was the first driver to win a grand prix for Michelin in the grooved-tyre era, at Imola, San Marino on April 15 2001.
During 2006, its final season for the foreseeable future, Michelin's six partner teams have scored nine wins, taken 11 pole positions and notched up scored 455 of the 702 available points.