Canadian Grand Prix Following David Coulthard's memorable victory for West McLaren-Mercedes and Michelin in the previous round of the Formula One world championship in Monaco, there are those who think the Clermont-Ferrand tyre manufacturer will...
Canadian Grand Prix
Following David Coulthard's memorable victory for West McLaren-Mercedes and Michelin in the previous round of the Formula One world championship in Monaco, there are those who think the Clermont-Ferrand tyre manufacturer will be in a position to take the fight to Ferrari for the balance of the season. So will that be the case when the teams meet up for the eighth race of the season in Canada?
Michelin motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier says: "A repeat success would certainly give us a great deal of satisfaction, but you mustn't lose sight of the different factors that can influence the outcome of F1 events. Monaco is a small track - just 3.3 kilometres (2.05 miles) long and with average lap speeds of about 150 km/h (93 mph), while Montréal measures 4.4 km (2.73 miles) and average speeds are much higher, at about 200 km/h (125 mph) per lap."
The Canadian Grand Prix takes place on Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, which is located on the Île Notre Dame and has a reputation for being one of the season's friendliest venues. The track design places an emphasis on hard acceleration and equally fierce braking while its surface does not offer a high level of grip. Drivers need good traction and to be strong enough physically to cope with sustained high speeds.
Although some elements of the circuit might sound a bit like those at Monaco, Pierre Dupasquier underlines that this is not the case at all. He says: "The main problems at Monaco are generating grip and moderating rear tyre wear. Here in Montreal teams are concerned about brake fade and tyres overheating because of the extreme loads placed upon them at high speed. As a result, the overall package that won in Monaco has little in common with that you will need to be successful in Canada."
Michelin can take heart from its performance in Canada last season, where Ralf Schumacher triumphed for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team after a 45-lap battle with his elder brother Michael's Ferrari.
Pierre Dupasquier adds: "It's true that we won in Montreal last year, but remember we won in Imola, too, without being able to repeat that result earlier this season. We will approach the race much like we did Monaco, with two tyre compounds from the 'softer' end of our tyre range. One has been used before and will serve as a yardstick, the other is newer and, we think, it will prove to be even more competitive. It would give me a great deal of pleasure if we could win here this weekend. The track is named after the late, great local hero Gilles Villeneuve, who scored the maiden win of his grand prix career here in 1978. It was our fifth victory of the campaign - and he was driving a Ferrari."