The most hectic part of the Formula One world championship season concludes this weekend at Silverstone - the sixth grand prix in an intense eight-week period. The British circuit has a significant place in Michelin's history. It was here in 1977...
The most hectic part of the Formula One world championship season concludes this weekend at Silverstone - the sixth grand prix in an intense eight-week period. The British circuit has a significant place in Michelin's history. It was here in 1977 that the company made its grand prix debut and pioneered a technological breakthrough - the radial F1 tyre.
Carlos Reutemann (Ferrari/Michelin) scored the first world championship grand prix victory on radial rubber in Brazil 1978 and the technology has been so effective that it remains in force to this day. Michelin has won the British GP five times - with Reutemann (Ferrari, 1978), John Watson (McLaren, 1981), Niki Lauda (McLaren, 1982), Alain Prost (Renault, 1983) and Niki Lauda (McLaren, 1984) - and will be gunning for its 74th F1 world championship victory on Sunday.
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:
"Silverstone promises to be an interesting weekend - not least because the long-range forecast suggests we will certainly need to put our wet-weather tyres to the test. I feel confident about our chances whatever the conditions. We have done plenty of development work with our dry-weather compounds at Silverstone and the results were most encouraging."
"Our tyres were certainly very effective in last year's corresponding race. Jarno Trulli led convincingly for Renault in the early stages, but a couple of Safety Car periods compromised his chances - and ours, as things turned out. This season, we will be out to make amends."
Pascal Vasselon, Michelin F1 programme manager:
"Silverstone is one of the test venues we visit most frequently, so teams know it very well. We will be using tyres from the harder end of our range because they are more suited to the circuit's fast sweeps and high-speed directional changes. It is not often during the season that a harder tyre's handling properties outweigh the advantages of a softer compound's extra grip, but that is the case at Silverstone."
"The biggest unknown factor, as always, will be the different strategies adopted by teams during qualifying - and we bore that in mind when finalising our options. We will have three dry-weather tyres available and these were selected in the wake of recent tests both here and in Barcelona."
Jenson Button, BAR-Honda/Michelin
"We have done quite a bit of tyre testing at Silverstone and the results have been extremely promising. Conditions are always a little bit different when we go back for the race, of course - the ambient temperature is usually warmer and the track offers more grip - but I'm approaching my home race in a positive frame of mind. We have a well-balanced chassis, a strong engine and good Michelin tyres - and we should have some new parts available, so the car will be even better than it was when we last tested here."
"Quite a few of the corners place a significant load on the chassis - none more so than Becketts. Michelin has good tyre stability there - and that is absolutely vital, because there are several rapid changes of direction and it is important to carry as much speed as possible onto the Hangar Straight."