Michelin talks about the unique characteristics of Indy Pascal Vasselon, the man in charge of the French tyre company's F1 programme, reveals the secrets of the American circuit. You have already heard Pat Symonds talk about it this weekend:...
Michelin talks about the unique characteristics of Indy
Pascal Vasselon, the man in charge of the French tyre company's F1 programme, reveals the secrets of the American circuit.
You have already heard Pat Symonds talk about it this weekend: the special characteristics of Indianapolis make it very difficult to set up the cars. Ultimately, they need to be set up in order to protect against overtaking manoeuvres in the race, but also -- obviously -- to get the best possible lap-time.
The same is true for the tyres. For the Renault F1 Team's tyre partner Michelin, the American round of the season is a major challenge. "Indianapolis is by far the most demanding circuit for the rear tyres," explains Pascal Vasselon, who heads the French manufacturer's tyre programme. "That is because of the combination of the numerous traction events in the infield and the section round the banking, the low speeds and engine torque, that really work the tyres."
The Michelin engineers must therefore essentially work on set-up in order to get round the problem. "In an ideal world, we would like to bring Monaco-type tyres, ie: very soft tyres," continues Pascal. "That would bring us lots of grip in the twisty section. However, they would exceed their temperature window on the straight and the banking. So we must compromise."
In terms of tracking tyre performance during the race, Pascal gives some clues: "We have reason to believe the competition may suffer some blistering," he explains. "In order to see this on television, watch the rear tyres. If they look like they have more than four grooves that means they have a problem. If you have access to the race times, watch the times in the second sector: if they increase drastically, that may be an indicator."
Finally, it's worth pointing out that all the Michelin teams have opted for the same tyres, just as they did in Montreal last week.