Michelin interview with Biabaud

For many decades, Michelin has relied on a shrewd blend of passion and common sense to underpin its motorsport activities. A commitment to safety in the design, manufacture and utilisation of competition tyres has always been a Michelin...

For many decades, Michelin has relied on a shrewd blend of passion and common sense to underpin its motorsport activities.

A commitment to safety in the design, manufacture and utilisation of competition tyres has always been a Michelin trademark - as has the spirit of fruitful co-operation that exists between the company and its partner teams.

Frédéric Henry Biabaud, Michelin's deputy motorsport director, outlines the company's competition philosophy:

Q: Michelin is the world's number one tyre manufacturer. Why is the company involved in motorsport?

Frédéric Henry Biabaud: We are committed for several fundamental reasons. For one thing, we want to strengthen our relationship with manufacturers all over the world by playing a part in their motorsport successes. This has always encouraged us to support our partners in competition.

We are also passionately committed to winning - and not just taking part - in cutting-edge, high-tech categories and events such as Formula One, the World Rally Championship, top-level motorcycle racing, the Dakar Rally and the Le Mans 24 Hours. All these things enjoy worldwide media exposure and there could be no finer endorsement of our participation than to see Michelin drivers or riders appearing on the top step of a podium...

Q: How does this involvement enhance Michelin's image?

Frédéric Henry Biabaud: Positive brand values are established in several different ways- from providing a sound commercial structure and high standards of service to the quality and reliability of your products, not forgetting the reputation you can build through research and investment.

It is worth pointing out that the kind of positive feedback generated in motorsport cannot be achieved through any other means - not even a conventional advertising campaign, no matter how effective it might be.

Motorsport highlights various strengths- including reliability and credibility - and news of good results filters through to the general public very swiftly. It's a good conduit. All market surveys indicate that investment in motorsport is justified when it comes to enhancing brand image.

Q: How does Michelin establish its sporting partnerships?

Frédéric Henry Biabaud: It is abundantly obvious that a long -term motorsport contract with a manufacturer opens the doors to a number of opportunities, both commercially and in terms of technological collaboration. Constant dialogue with car manufacturers has allowed us to identify mutually beneficial market sectors we can target in future.

Michelin's ability to produce competitive tyres every weekend is a hallmark of credibility. Today, one can say that the involvement we have with world-class manufacturers in motorsport adds to that credibility and gives us the potential to forge strong commercial relationships.

-michelin-

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Series Formula 1