After the troubles at Indianapolis Michelin has been at pains to reassure the organisers of the events, and the fans, that there won't be any problems in France and Britain, and the drivers are also confident the Michelin tyres will perform well...
After the troubles at Indianapolis Michelin has been at pains to reassure the organisers of the events, and the fans, that there won't be any problems in France and Britain, and the drivers are also confident the Michelin tyres will perform well in future races. Speaking at Thursday's FIA press conference in Magny Cours, Fernando Alonso, Jarno Trulli and Kimi Raikkonen said they weren't concerned.
"I think the Indianapolis problem was a very specific problem of that configuration of the circuit and what happened there and after the times and the performances the tyres gave to us in the last test last week, I think we are more competitive than before," said Renault's championship leader Alonso. "I think the tyres are extremely, extremely good for this race and for Silverstone as well and I have no worries at all."
Toyota driver Trulli, who was on pole position at Indy, added: "I don't think we'll have any safety problem or any performance problem. What happened in Indianapolis was just a special case, unfortunately a bad case for us and for Michelin. But these things can happen and it is part of racing and motor sport and I think Michelin will compete again as strong as before."
The question of tyre safety arose again in regard to Monza, the 15th round of the championship in September, which is a fast track where the cars ride the kerbs quite heavily. "I'm not worried about it," said McLaren's Raikkonen. "I think the circuit is completely different, even if it is a high speed circuit, but the corners aren't as high speed as the one at Indy. It was also a banked corner at Indy so I think that was a small part of the problem."
Trulli concurred: "I'm really not concerned," commented the Italian. "What we had in Indianapolis was a strange situation and it was quite far away from where we are based, so it was difficult to react for Michelin and conditions were different from the previous season so all these things mixed up created. Well, we know what happened. I think Monza will be a normal Grand Prix with no problems."
As for the immediate future, title rivals Alonso and Raikkonen are ready to rejoin the battle on Sunday at Magny Cours. "Last year maybe it wasn't our strongest race, even though we had a new car here," said Raikkonen. "I think the car should be good. We have some new parts and a new engine for this race, so I'm looking forward to it."
Alonso was on pole in France in 2004 and finished second. "We are very optimistic for this race especially regarding the last year's results so I think we arrive here in a very good moment," said the Spanaird. "We are leading both championships, the car has improved a lot again last week in Jerez, so we arrive at a perfect point this weekend in Magny-Cours."
Let's not forget that Ferrari's Michael Schumacher, who won in France last year, is now only three points behind Raikkonen. However, the reigning champion knows there is a lot more work to do. "I think it needs to be more than just another win here, honestly," Schumacher said in regard to being a title contender. "But it would be the right way to go ahead."