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Ferrari and Michelin

THE rumors that Ferrari will be using Michelin tires in 2002 seem to have been created because there is not much news about Ferrari in Italy at the moment. Ferrari is three years into a five-year deal with Bridgestone and as the Japanese tire company is paying around $2m a year just to supply Ferrari with tires it is unlikely that it would look kindly on any attempt to break that contract.

There are many in F1 who feel that Bridgestone will do whatever they are told to do by Ferrari and there is no doubt that Bridgestone's new tires at the end of the season helped Ferrari to win the World Championship. That suggestion is based on Bridgestone's odd decision to take only one tire compound to the Japanese GP. This was a new compound which was rather more durable than earlier tires. Throughout the early part of the year the Ferrari F1-2000 chassis proved to be as quick as the McLaren but tended to use tires more and so on several occasions McLaren was able to win races thanks to this advantage. But in Japan McLaren had no choice and the team's technical director Adrian Newey remarked that the tires available were not as soft as the team would have liked.

Michelin would no doubt love to have Ferrari as one of its teams but the Italian team will not jump from Bridgestone until it is absolutely certain that the French tires are better. That is going to take some time.

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