FIA Formula One World Championship 2001 British Grand Prix - Sunday, July 15th, 2001 Having scored podium finishes in each of the previous three grands prix and secured its first pole position of the season at Magny-Cours, Michelin is in an ...
FIA Formula One World Championship 2001
British Grand Prix - Sunday, July 15th, 2001
Having scored podium finishes in each of the previous three grands prix and secured its first pole position of the season at Magny-Cours, Michelin is in an optimistic frame of mind heading into the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Michelin motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier says: "Given Ralf Schumacher's qualifying performance and second place in France, plus the race pace of Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team-Michelin) and Eddie Irvine (Jaguar Racing-Michelin), we can only feel confident about our chances this weekend."
Since the last race Michelin's engineers have been trying to get to the root of the problem that afflicted Ralf Schumacher (BMW Williams F1 Team-Michelin) at Magny-Cours, where his second set of tyres seemed to render his car tricky to drive.
Dupasquier says: "This was the first time such a thing had happened to us. It is this company's culture and tradition to make sure we deliver consistent performance from one tyre to the next. We have cut, dissected and analysed the tyres, but for the moment we have found nothing that would explain such a handling anomaly. What's more, Ralf had previously covered 11 laps in four runs with this set of tyres without noticing anything at all. We will have to look elsewhere, probably to see whether anything happened to these tyres between the warm-up and the time they were fitted for the race."
The hub of British motor racing
This weekend's venue, Silverstone, is different from Magny-Cours in many ways. Situated in Northamptonshire, the track has evolved considerably since it hosted the very first world championship race in 1950. Today it measures 5,140 km (3.194 miles) and remains one of the fastest circuits on the championship schedule.
Michelin's F1 project manager Pascal Vasselon says: "The circuit is very demanding on tyres and we will be taking along compound options from the harder end of our range. We will be using two new tyres that were developed in the wake of the last tests we conducted at Silverstone."
Pierre Dupasquier adds: "This is a superb circuit. Over the years a number of slower corners have reduced lap speeds, but you are still flirting with an average of about 220 km/h (135 mph). The track is close to the hub of the British F1 industry. It is abrasive on tyres... and sometimes wet. Like Magny-Cours, we have tested there several times. The results have perhaps been less satisfying than they were at Magny-Cours, so we must wait until Friday to find out just how competitive our tyres will be."