Formula One is poised to forsake its European heartland for a two-weekend break in North America. This weekend's Canadian GP, eighth of the campaign's 18 world championship races, takes place at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, named in...
Formula One is poised to forsake its European heartland for a two-weekend break in North America. This weekend's Canadian GP, eighth of the campaign's 18 world championship races, takes place at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, named in honour of the local racing legend who scored his breakthrough F1 victory here in 1978 at the wheel of a Michelin-shod Ferrari.
Jacques Laffite (Talbo-Ligier, 1981), Nelson Piquet (Brabham-BMW, 1984) and Ralf Schumacher (BMW WilliamsF1 Team, 2001) have also scored Canadian GP wins on Michelin tyres. This weekend the company is chasing its 74th F1 world championship success.
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:
"Montreal incorporates a blend of high-speed straights, slow-speed corners and fierce braking zones. It is one of the season's most challenging tracks for a tyre manufacturer. Last season we gave our partner teams a clear technical advantage although a combination of factors conspired to deny us victory. I am confident we can redress the balance this time."
Pascal Vasselon, Michelin F1 programme manager:
"After the Nürburgring, where tyres are subjected to very even loads during the course of a lap, we will stick with compounds from the softer end of our range for Montreal - although the circuit parameters are very different from those we encountered in Germany. There are no quick corners and cars are constantly accelerating hard from hairpin bends or slow chicanes, a factor that inflicts a substantial load on the rear tyres. Even a slight rise in temperature can be enough to put them under great duress."
"Furthermore, you can't choose too hard a compound because the circuit has a low-grip surface. It's a difficult compromise that makes Montreal an interesting exercise for tyre manufacturers - it would be very easy to make a mistake when finalising your options. After analysing data from the last few races and a recent test session at Paul Ricard, we have chosen three dry-weather compounds that should be capable of dealing with Montreal's potential pitfalls."
Mark Webber, Jaguar Racing/Michelin
"In character Montreal is a bit like a street circuit in that it tends to be incredibly dusty at the start of a race weekend. It features lots of what we call 'traction events', where you need the car to provide as much grip as possible under acceleration from slow corners. It is imperative to get your traction control settings and suspension configuration right, so that you don't put too much of a strain on tyres during the course of a race stint."
"The corners are predominantly slow but we approach them at very high speeds, so tyre performance is critical during deceleration - you need suitably stiff front tyres to aid stable braking. Michelin is well accustomed to F1's extreme demands, though, so I'm sure we'll be in good shape."