Confidence high at Michelin Michelin has mixed feelings about recent results at Imola, the San Marino Grand Prix's superb host venue. In 2001 the BMW WilliamsF1 Team, one of our partners, won the race at a canter. Last season, however, we have...
Confidence high at Michelin
Michelin has mixed feelings about recent results at Imola, the San Marino Grand Prix's superb host venue. In 2001 the BMW WilliamsF1 Team, one of our partners, won the race at a canter.
Last season, however, we have to admit that we weren't competitive enough. Ralf Schumacher spearheaded the Michelin challenge with a strong third-place finish but even he had to admit, "We simply weren't fast enough."
What, then, might lie in store this time?
Partner teams using Michelin tyres have made a terrific start to the season with their latest chassis West McLaren Mercedes, Mild Seven Renault F1, Jaguar Racing, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team and Panasonic Toyota Racing have all featured strongly.
A number of machines will be racing with fresh development parts at Imola and Michelin has to prove that its latest F1 tyres will be as effective on European tracks as they were on other continents. As is common practice in F1, we are starting with a clean sheet of paper this weekend. We have conducted several test sessions during the build-up to the San Marino GP. These went well and enabled us to evaluate a new tyre range.
We appreciate the size of the task that lies ahead but, after winning in Australia and Malaysia and dominating much of the rain-soaked Brazilian race (where our tyres performed ever more effectively as the track became wetter), it would be wrong to travel to Imola without a certain degree of optimism.
Ralf Schumacher (BMW WilliamsF1 Team driver):
"Due to my first victory in Formula One I return every year back to Imola with a smile in my face. The Michelin tyres have been one of the most important factors to win the race in 2001, and I hope they will be again this year. The tyres seem to be well prepared for the cirquit as well as our car is. At last weeks test in Le Castellet we improved the BMW-WilliamsF1 in a way, that I can be very optimistic for the Grand Prix of San Marino!"
Pierre Dupasquier (Michelin motorsport director):
"After Interlagos, the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari is the second -- and final -- anti-clockwise track at which we race this season. Average lap speeds are quite high, at about 220 km/h (135 mph)."
"The circuit is notable for a number of long straights interspersed with chicanes and longitudinal tyre loads will be higher than they were at the first three tracks of the season. The penalty for running a heavy fuel load is quite high -- about 0.4 to 0.5 seconds per lap for every extra 10kg you carry."
"Our most recent test session at Le Castellet enabled us to finalise our options for San Marino. Our partner teams finally settled on a range of 3 dry-weather tyres."
"The 3 Michelin tyres options in San Marino have not been used before during a race weekend. For the first time this season, the compounds come from the 'softer' side of our range."
TAKING THE ROUGH WITH THE SMOOTH
"The Imola track surface is not consistent over the course of a lap and there are a few 'rogue' sections here and there. Some chicanes are smoother than other parts of the circuit, for instance, and that's the kind of thing that can sometimes catch drivers out -- especially when it rains."
"The pit entry and exit are fairly short here and scheduled stops are not too punitive -- about 25 to 27 seconds, as opposed to 40 in Interlagos. This allows teams to contemplate a number of strategic possibilities -- but if you want to qualify on pole position a two-stop fuel load will probably be the shrewdest option."