The Michelin crew usually sets off for successive European grands prix without having an opportunity to return to base. Following Germany, however, the FIA indulged Formula One participants with two weekends of complete inactivity between races.
The Michelin crew usually sets off for successive European grands prix without having an opportunity to return to base. Following Germany, however, the FIA indulged Formula One participants with two weekends of complete inactivity between races. Things are about to resume once again, however, and Michelin is preparing to reunite with its partner teams at the Hungaroring, near Budapest.
But the recent mini-break doesn't mean Michelin's competition department has been inactive. Rather, it has been racking up more victories: it won the Spa 24 Hours, one of the most challenging rounds of the FIA GT Championship; Colin Edwards and Daijiro Kat o steered their Honda to success in the famed Suzuka 8 Hours motorcycle enduro; and the Michelin-shod Peugeot 206 WRCs of Marcus Gronholm and Richard Burns finished 1-2 on the Rally Finland. This dominant performance has increased Peugeot-Michelin's lead t o 25 points in the World Championship for Manufacturers.
But while it has been busy winning in other areas, Michelin has also been hard at work analysing data from the previous two Formula One grands prix at Magny-Cours and Hockenheim.
Michelin motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier says: "We haven't very much new to tell you. We saw that the McLaren-Mercedes team dominated most of the race in France and that the Williams-BMWs were very effective in Germany, even if Juan Pablo Montoya fai led to take pole position for once. We have the qualifying speed and the racing speed. All that remains is for us to put it together at the same time--"
Setting out to conquer the East--
The Hungarian Grand Prix is renowned as a difficult race that demands tyres with a high level of grip. The circuit is 3.975 km (2.470 miles) long and comprises mainly slow corners that place an emphasis on good traction.
Pierre Dupasquier says: "It is a fairly high-downforce circuit with two 180-degree bends and a whole series of tight corners - a bit like Montreal but without the straights. Average lap speeds are relatively low at about 185 km/h (115 mph). The track surfa ce is quite well worn and it is essential to generate as much grip as possible, while remembering that the heat can have an adverse effect on tyre wear. Last year a two-stop strategy looked like the best option but, here more than almost anywhere, overtaki ng tends to be very difficult and grid positions have a major influence on the race's outcome. The two dry-weather tyres we will be using both feature state-of-the-art construction techniques and we have opted for compounds that provide both grip and durab ility."