Monaco GP: Michelin preview

Michelin motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier was buoyed by certain aspects of the previous grand prix in Austria - even though the firm came away without a win. "There's not much to add about the last race," he says, "but I would like to...

Michelin motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier was buoyed by certain aspects of the previous grand prix in Austria - even though the firm came away without a win. "There's not much to add about the last race," he says, "but I would like to highlight the stunning drive by Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team/Michelin). He finished third - just behind the Ferraris - after completing the race on a single set of tyres." The Colombian star confirmed that his Michelins had performed faultlessly. "Our decision to go for the hard tyres also paid off. The tyres were very consistent and I could keep them on until the end of the race." he said. His team-mate Ralf Schumacher also drove well to finish fourth. "For me everything was just perfect - the car, the engine, the tyres and the pit stop" he said.

Monaco - mind those barriers

The Monaco circuit is one of motor racing's foremost legends and hosts its traditional grand prix, the seventh round of the 2002 FIA Formula One World Championship, from May 23-25.

A street track like no other, Monaco is famous throughout the world for its atmosphere, tight corners and the closeness of unforgiving steel barriers that are always ready to snag the unwary.

The race through the streets of the principality is particularly difficult for tyre companies when it rains, because the painted lines that usually provide information for everyday traffic are extremely slippery and the manhole covers also put grip at a pr emium. With average race speeds of less than 150 km/h (93.2 mph) as opposed to 196 (121.8) in Austria, drivers need three things in particular: the ability to keep their engine within its optimum rev band, excellent traction - and pole position.

Dupasquier adds: "Last season, in our first F1 race here since 1984, Michelin's tyres were well suited to the track and Eddie Irvine proved as much by taking his Jaguar to a podium finish. "Monaco is the circuit with the lowest average lap speeds of the season and it requires the 'softest' rubber but, that said, it takes its toll on rear tyres. That's because the cars are constantly accelerating at full throttle from slow corners and we have to evolve a compound suitable for such particular conditions. You also need a traction control system that is finely honed, because that governs both wheelspin and the rate of tyre wear. During recent tests at Valencia, Spain, and Paul Ricard, France - which both have elements similar to Monaco - we tried out a new tyre that gave us excellent results. We will be taking that to the principality with us, along with a compound we already know well."

-michelin-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Ralf Schumacher
Teams Ferrari , Williams