Since the start of the 2001 season, Michelin and Renault have been working together to design the F1 tyre that is best adapted to each type of circuit. Pascal Vasselon, head of Michelin's F1 programme, explains. Q: What has been Michelin's ...
Since the start of the 2001 season, Michelin and Renault have been working together to design the F1 tyre that is best adapted to each type of circuit. Pascal Vasselon, head of Michelin's F1 programme, explains.
Q: What has been Michelin's approach to designing tyres this season?
Pascal Vasselon: We started from the families that appeared at Monza and Indianapolis last season. These were born of a long term approach and were developed over the winter. The progress made in private tests was then confirmed in Grand Prix, which enabled us to continue on this track.
Q: If you had to single out one thing to explain the progress made over the winter, what would that be?
PV: It's always difficult to do that. However, I think we are now managing to choose the right test bases for the Grand Prix. It is an important stage, which enables you to validate the solutions you have come up with in the factory. It requires two distinct forms of analysis: to determine the adapted circuit and to be able to examine the results obtained. It is necessary to know what elements to retain and interpret when we are testing in 15°C in Europe on products destined for Melbourne, Sepang or Interlagos.
Q: What makes the difference in this area?
PV: Experience combined with the computer's verdict -- a useful combination.
Q: How would you define the partnership between Michelin and Renault?
PV: It's exemplary. Regular meetings between our engineers and those at Enstone allow us to focus our products in an increasingly precise manner. Up until now, the R23 has been a car that has made the most of its tyres, without wearing them out too much. The dynamic qualities of the chassis are clearly an advantage at this level.
Q: In what way have the new regulations changed your approach?
PV: Not being allowed to treat the cars between qualifying and the race forces us to use a more consistent tyre, which is less sensitive to changes in track conditions. Therefore, its range has to be wider.