Italian GP: Michelin preview

Fresh from its recent success in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa - where Kimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes) scored a comfortable victory - Michelin has made fruitful preparations for this weekend's Italian GP. With Formula One's summer testing...

Fresh from its recent success in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa - where Kimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes) scored a comfortable victory - Michelin has made fruitful preparations for this weekend's Italian GP. With Formula One's summer testing ban finally at an end, Michelin spent a productive week evaluating tyre compounds at Monza - one of grand prix racing's landmark circuits.

First opened in 1922, it appeared on the inaugural F1 world championship calendar in 1950 and has subsequently been omitted from the schedule only once, in 1980. It has hosted more world championship grands prix than any other track and this weekend's race will be its 54th.

Michelin is no stranger to success in Italy and has scored six of its 74 F1 grand prix victories at Monza, courtesy of Jody Scheckter (Ferrari, 1979), Alain Prost (Renault, 1981), René Arnoux (Renault, 1982), Nelson Piquet (Brabham-BMW, 1983), Niki Lauda (McLaren-TAG Turbo, 1984) and Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team, 2001).

Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:

"During the recent tests at Monza, there were two incidents involving tyres: two rear tyres were damaged - and the pressure loss was accurately identified and measured by the on-board telemetry. Missing valve caps were clearly to blame on both occasions.

"This is another factor to add to the numerous theories that have been put forward since the spate of spectacular tyre incidents during the most recent race in Spa - where the inside edges of certain kerbs were suspected of having caused a few problems.

So far, our internal investigations have produced nothing that could provide a clear technical reason. That's good news in a way, because we have not been able to identify any technical errors on our part, but at the same time it is frustrating because we have not been able to reach any definitive technical conclusions."

Pascal Vasselon, Michelin F1 programme manager:

"Pre-race testing at Monza went very well for us. Antonio Pizzonia set the week's fastest lap in his Williams-BMW and several of our partners performed very competitively."

"As at most circuits, tyre manufacturers have to deliver a compromise when finalising tyre compounds for Monza. Despite the loads imposed by ultra- quick corners such as the Parabolica, tyre wear isn't physically excessive. Combined with the sustained high speeds down the long straights, this lack of wear generates significant tyre temperatures. Consequently, we can't afford to run compounds that are too soft.

"We will bring four different dry- weather options to Monza. Michelin has performed very well at Monza in recent seasons and our encouraging testing form indicates that our engineers have struck the right balance once again."

Driver perspective
Jarno Trulli (Renault/Michelin):

"Monza features lots of heavy braking and acceleration, which puts quite a heavy strain on tyres - particularly the rears. We have to evolve a set-up to counter that. The other important factor is to generate a decent level of 'feel' during deceleration - we have to brake much earlier than we do at other circuits because we run with relatively little downforce. We need consistent tyre grip to be able to do that with confidence."

"In recent years, Michelin has produced excellent tyres for Monza and we have just had several days of testing to help us finalise our options for this weekend. I am confident we can take the fight to our rivals in the Italian GP and, on a personal level, it would be fantastic to deliver a strong performance in front of my home fans."

-michelin-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jarno Trulli , Antonio Pizzonia , Niki Lauda , Alain Prost , René Arnoux , Nelson Piquet , Jody Scheckter
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , McLaren , Williams