Michelin was buoyed by the performance of its partner teams during last weekend's French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours. Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) obtained his fifth consecutive pole position and, in so doing, set the fastest lap ever...
Michelin was buoyed by the performance of its partner teams during last weekend's French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours. Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) obtained his fifth consecutive pole position and, in so doing, set the fastest lap ever seen at the Nevers track. In the race, Kimi Räikkönen and David Coulthard (West McLaren-Mercedes) were in sparkling form and took the fight to newly-crowned world champion Michael Schumacher.
Kimi swept into the lead on lap 55 and, despite intense pressure, remained in perfect control until five laps from home, when a pool of oil from Allan McNish's car caught him out and forced a small error that cost him a maiden F1 victory. He went on to finish second, the best result of his career to date. As for David, he set fastest lap -- a new race record -- en route to third place.
Michelin motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier says: "Our partner teams recognised the solid technical job we did and complemented us on our performance. Last weekend highlighted Michelin's motor sport philosophy -- to provide the best possible tyres that are capable of winning races... eventually."
Michelin and its partners have had only five days in which to gather their thoughts before setting off again to race at Hockenheim, Germany, in the 12th round of the FIA Formula One World Championship. And racing in grands prix on successive weekends requires a certain degree of organisational ability.
Michelin's head of F1 tyre development Gérald Brussoz says: "We didn't finalise one of the compounds we would be using at Hockenheim until last Sunday afternoon, July 21, after we had chance to analyse how our tyres were performing during the opening laps of the French GP. Once we made our decision we informed the manufacturing plant at Cataroux, which immediately began an initial production run of about 100 tyres. On Tuesday we fully loaded six trucks and despatched them to Hockenheim, where they arrived on Wednesday. Our staff have done an incredible job and it is thanks to their fantastic capacity to react so swiftly that we are able to fine-tune our tyres from race to race."
Michelin's F1 project chief Pascal Vasselon adds: "Hockenheim has been totally redesigned and resurfaced recently, so drivers and tyre manufacturers will only gain their first experience of the track during free practice on Friday morning. Conditions are sure to evolve during the weekend because the grand prix is the first race meeting to take place on the fresh asphalt. The two dry-weather tyre compounds we are bringing to this event have been developed with the aid of extensive computer simulations."