Michelin supplies six of the Formula One teams on the gird with tyres this year and Williams' chief operations engineer Sam Michael believes that is an advantage. The French manufacturer is tyre partners with Williams, McLaren, Renault, BAR,...
Michelin supplies six of the Formula One teams on the gird with tyres this year and Williams' chief operations engineer Sam Michael believes that is an advantage. The French manufacturer is tyre partners with Williams, McLaren, Renault, BAR, Jaguar and Toyota -- more than a couple of front running teams on that list since BAR decided to switch to Michelin for 2004. Michael thinks more teams makes the learning process quicker.
"Six teams are an advantage," he explained. "The learning process during the tests is hugely significant. When you look at the choice of tyres we have, it's all based on analysis, which Michelin does with the teams. You have access to a far greater database, made up from competitive teams. Three or four strong teams help Michelin a lot more than just one."
The upcoming Spanish Grand Prix may be at a familiar track, as the Circuit de Catalunya is a popular test venue, but that is not necessarily an advantage. "This race presents us with something of a paradox," said Michelin's Pierre Dupasquier.
"Obviously we know the track very well, because our partner teams accumulate many thousands of kilometres here during winter testing. Temperatures are much cooler at that time of year than they are likely to be this weekend, however, so we can't rely on that data alone when evaluating our options for the grand prix."
Michelin will be using tyres from the harder end of the compound scale at Barcelona. "The asphalt isn't a great deal more abrasive than that used elsewhere," explained F1 programme manager Pacal Vasselon. "But the layout of the circuit puts a real strain on rubber because there are so many long, high-speed corners."
Taking these aspects into consideration, Michelin is confident of a good performance in Spain. We are used to dealing with a wide variety of conditions," said Dupasquier. "Our tyres have been very well suited to every track on which we have raced this season and I expect that to be the case once again this weekend."