Talking from Mercedes' headquarters in Stuttgart, Mclaren boss Ron Dennis explained that the reason for the team's decision to switch to Michelin for the 2002 season was a desire to have a greater technical involvement in the tyre's development....
Talking from Mercedes' headquarters in Stuttgart, Mclaren boss Ron Dennis explained that the reason for the team's decision to switch to Michelin for the 2002 season was a desire to have a greater technical involvement in the tyre's development. The McLaren boss said that his team's decision to switch to Michelin rubber in 2002 has nothing to do with any doubt that it could not continue to be successful using Bridgestone tires. It has been done becauseof McLaren's desire to raise the level of their understanding of the part a racing tire plays in the overall operation of a Grand Prix car.
"The switch was made because we wish to take our technical understanding, in respect of the role the tyre played in the performance of the car and the suspension, to a new level," Dennis is quoted as saying to Reuters. "But we felt strongly that we wanted to go further in technical collaboration than we have ever been before with a tyre company."
Bridgestone has supplied both Ferrari and McLaren since 1999, and Ferrari announced at the end of July that it would extend its relationship with the Japanese manufacturer until the end of the 2004 season.
There have been allegations that Ferrari were supplied with special tyres. Only last week Michelin's Pierre Dupasquier revealed "From the Indianapolis race there has been a particular smell from Ferrari's tyres. Everyone knows that certain products used to speed up performances generate this. How else can you explain Schumacher's incredible early laps (in the US and Japanese GPs)? Seeing as nobody has complained about it, we will adapt our approach accordingly." Bridgestone denied the rumours.
Yesterday Ron Dennis was not willing to fuel this speculation. "We raced always on the same tires. All Grand Prix teams have levels of paranoia and I don't think we are the exceptions. You scratch your head and you wonder but I have to say that there is nothing that we have ever come across, no factual piece of evidence, that would support the view that any team on Bridgestone... had an advantage over us," said the McLaren team boss.
Dennis confirmed that he expected all Michelin teams to receive the same tires and does not expect any special treatment, saying "the starting point of a relationship with a tire company has to be total equality."