Michelin Hungarian GP preview

FIA Formula One World Championship 2001 Hungarian Grand Prix ­ Budapest - Sunday, August 19th, 2001 Three weeks on, is it right that we should bring up the subject of Ralf Schumacher's superb victory for the Michelin-equipped BMW...

FIA Formula One World Championship 2001
Hungarian Grand Prix ­ Budapest - Sunday, August 19th, 2001

Three weeks on, is it right that we should bring up the subject of Ralf Schumacher's superb victory for the Michelin-equipped BMW WilliamsF1 Team at Hockenheim? Well why not? Such an emphatic performance hardly went unnoticed. What's more, observers were quick to point out that the presence of just one Michelin driver on the podium was in no way a fair reflection of the Clermont-Ferrand manufacturer's performance during the German Grand Prix.

Michelin motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier says: "We have no intention of rewriting history nor, more modestly, of reviewing once again the 2001 German GP. But Ralf Schumacher drove a storming race ­ and it is also worth noting that his team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya was head and shoulders clear of the opposition in the early stages, although he later had to retire because of mechanical problems. And to round off this performance, we should mention the excellent strategy the Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport-Michelin team used to put Giancarlo Fisichella and Jenson Button in contention among the points-scorers. These results were extremely encouraging for everybody."

In search of eastern promise...

This weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix marks the end of F1's brief summer break and brings a fresh element of uncertainty to the story of Michelin's 2001 season. The Hungaroring, near Budapest, measures 3.975 km (2.47 miles) and is a tricky circuit that demands tyres with a high level of grip.

Dupasquier says: "Our quest for grip means that our tyre compounds might offer performance at the expense of durability. Last season a two-stop strategy appeared to be the best solution for this event. As far as the tyres are concerned, that means covering a relatively short distance at an average speed of about 180 km/h (112 mph), the second slowest of the season after Monaco (where speeds this year averaged 146.881 km/h, or 91.27 mph). Furthermore, this is a circuit at which overtaking is much more difficult than usual and so grid positions will play a great part in determining the final result. The two tyre compounds we have developed for this track must allow us to cope with both warm and cool weather conditions."

Generally this grand prix takes place in extremely hot weather but, at this time of year, storms are always a possibility. Michelin's F1 project manager Pascal Vasselon says: "This could be an opportunity for us to try out our latest rain tyres, which performed really well when we tested them a couple of weeks ago."

-Michelin

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Williams , Benetton