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  Sunday, 7 July, 2002, 19:23 GMT 20:23 UK
Michelin: It wasn't our fault
Pablo Montoya could not hold off Michael Schumacher for long
Montoya's Michelins could not hold off Schumacher
BBC Sport Online's Andrew Benson

Michelin boss Pierre Dupasquier has defended his company's tyres in the face of criticism of their performance at the British Grand Prix.

Many Michelin drivers said that their wet tyres were no match for the rival Bridgestones, used by Ferrari among other teams.

And Juan Pablo Montoya, whose Williams team use Michelins, pointed out that he lost four seconds a lap behind Michael Schumacher in the rain.


Montoya's disadvantage was compared to the bloody Ferrari in front of him
Michelin boss
Pierre Dupasquier
But Dupasquier attributed the deficit to a "Ferrari phenomenon" - not to any performance deficit in the tyres.

Dupasquier said: "We are very satisfied because if you forget Ferrari, which is in a class of its own, we have been very competitive on both wets and intermediates.

"That is a surprise because our intermediates were much maligned earlier in the weekend.

"It is a Ferrari phenomenon - they were three to four seconds a lap quicker than everyone, including drivers on Bridgestones like Fisichella, who is an expert in the wet.

"Montoya's disadvantage was compared to the bloody Ferrari in front of him. But if you compare Montoya to the other drivers, he was very competitive.


The biggest problem at the moment is the tyres - it is getting better but it's not there yet
Pablo Montoya
"It was the first time we saw our tyre in the wet. Last year we were out of the picture. This year we are much better."

But Dupasquier was accused of "deluding himself" by an engineer from one of Michelin's teams.

And Montoya said: "Look at the top six - I'm the only guy on Michelins, and the next guy on them is Ralf (Schumacher) in eighth.

"The team has made a big step forward this weekend with the aerodynamics and to be 15 seconds behind is not bad. The chassis works well even if we need more downforce.

"The biggest problem at the moment is the tyres. It is getting better but it's not there yet."

He added: "As soon as it started drizzling it looked like the slicks were better in the damp and I could go faster, but when it was dry he was faster.

"In the rain he was much faster and I couldn't do a thing. He had an eight-second lead after two laps. I was pushing really hard but there was nothing I could do."

Changeable conditions

David Coulthard said that he had used the Bridgestone intermediate tyres, designed for conditions between very wet and totally dry, and to his surprise was very competitive on them.

Michelin's problem is not that their tyres are not competitive - it is that they cannot be used in as wide a range of conditions as the Bridgestones.

Ferrari used Bridgestone's intermediate tyre, which has repeatedly proved extremely good in a wide range of conditions.

It can be used in the pouring rain right through to when the track is almost completely dry.

Michelin, like Bridgestone, have four types of tyre - two types of wet, one intermediate and dries.

Each Michelin is competitive when conditions are exactly right for it, but their operating window is relatively narrow.

That makes picking the right tyre for a race in changeable conditions like at Silverstone impossible.

Michelin F1 technical director Pascal Vasellon admitted that the company did not have the right tyre for the specific conditions of Silverstone.

In-depth guide to the 2002 Formula One season

On-track action

Our man at Silverstone

Jonathan Legard

F1 2002
Links to more Formula One stories are at the foot of the page.


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