Formula One switches this weekend from the high-speed sweeps of Barcelona to the slower - but no less challenging - streets of Monaco. This is grand prix racing's showpiece event: crammed within the tight confines of Monte Carlo, the circuit...
Formula One switches this weekend from the high-speed sweeps of Barcelona to the slower - but no less challenging - streets of Monaco. This is grand prix racing's showpiece event: crammed within the tight confines of Monte Carlo, the circuit allows precious little margin for error and highlights the drivers' art like no other track.
This will be the 51st world championship race in the principality and Michelin has a proud record here. Jody Scheckter (Ferrari, 1979), Gilles Villeneuve (Ferrari, 1981) and Alain Prost (McLaren, 1984) won the event on Michelin tyres during the company's first spell in F1. This season Michelin is looking for a third consecutive success to add to the victories achieved by David Coulthard (Team McLaren Mercedes, 2002) and Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team, 2003).
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:
"This is a race like no other on the F1 schedule - It has a character like no other track and technically it is the complete opposite of the previous race in Barcelona. In Spain we ran hard tyres to deal with very abrasive conditions; in Monaco we will use much softer compounds. It's a race that requires a very particular approach but Michelin has demonstrated during the past couple of seasons that it knows how to rise to the challenge. I am looking forward to the weekend and am confident we can complete our hat trick."
Pascal Vasselon, Michelin Formula One programme manager:
"It is more difficult to prepare for Monaco than it is for any other event because you can't test in the principality and there is no other circuit like it. The track is slow and tight and the road surface isn't particularly abrasive. You also have to consider the 'barrier factor', which can have a psychological effect on drivers. They have to adapt their driving style because the Armco is so close all the way around the circuit."
"During the past few seasons we have established a system for evaluating tyre performance at Monaco by extrapolating data obtained at other venues. We have three dry-weather tyre options available for this year's race and made our final choice in the wake of a recent test session at Paul Ricard, in the south of France."
Juan Pablo Montoya, BMW WilliamsF1 Team:
"Tyres make a really big difference at Monaco. The circuit gains more and more grip as the weekend progresses and you really have to think hard about that when it comes to deciding which compound to use. You have to be quick when it matters - especially in qualifying. Michelin knows how to address the situation and for the past two seasons we have definitely had a tyre advantage in Monaco. I qualified on pole position here in 2002 and last season I won, so I'm confident Michelin will come up with some very good tyres again this weekend."