French GP: Michelin preview

Michelin is gearing up for its home grand prix this weekend. The company's Clermont-Ferrand base lies about 160 kilometres from Magny-Cours, which has hosted the French GP since 1991. Last season Ralf Schumacher (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) gave Michelin...

Michelin is gearing up for its home grand prix this weekend. The company's Clermont-Ferrand base lies about 160 kilometres from Magny-Cours, which has hosted the French GP since 1991. Last season Ralf Schumacher (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) gave Michelin its sixth French GP win, to add to those scored by Jean-Pierre Jabouille (Renault, 1979), Alain Prost (Renault, 1981 and 1983), René Arnoux (Renault, 1982) and Niki Lauda (McLaren, 1984).

Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:

"Circumstances might have denied us victory in the United States GP two weeks ago, but I was pleased to read so many post-race reports acknowledging that Michelin's tyres gave its partners a technical edge. I am confident we will enjoy the same level of performance and consistency at Magny-Cours this weekend."

"It's nice to be racing on home soil, but we approach the French Grand Prix in exactly the same way as we would any other event. Local knowledge doesn't confer any advantage, because we don't use the track for private testing, but it's fair to say we have a good understanding of Magny-Cours' subtle nuances. We proved as much last year when the BMW WilliamsF1 Team scored a dominant one-two on Michelin tyres."

Pascal Vasselon, Michelin F1 programme manager:

"We will use tyres from the medium sector of our range in France and our six partner teams will choose from two/three/four different dry-weather tyre options. The biggest challenge at Magny-Cours is making sure tyres can cope with the extreme loads generated through the ultra-quick Estoril right- hander - it only accounts for about 5 per cent of the lap but that's all it takes to prevent us running softer compounds."

"The fuel penalty is about average - every extra 10kg adds about 0.3 seconds to lap times."

Driver perspective
Olivier Panis, Panasonic Toyota Racing/Michelin:

"Magny-Cours has a lot of inherent grip - and that can limit the effectiveness of your tyres very quickly if you don't look after them carefully. It is vital to get your chassis set-up right. You don't want any understeer, because that can root your front tyres very early in the race, and you also have to be quite sensitive with the throttle in order to preserve the rears. It's quite a delicate balance, but Michelin knows exactly what's needed and the compounds we used in last season's corresponding fixture were extremely well suited to the track."

-michelin-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Ralf Schumacher , Olivier Panis , Niki Lauda , Jean-Pierre Jabouille , Alain Prost , René Arnoux
Teams McLaren , Williams , Toyota Racing