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APRIL 17, 2001

Michelin win down to teamwork

MICHELIN's Pierre Dupasquier has put his company's dramatic return win after just four races down to a strong partnership with the impressively developing Williams team.

The French tire company made a return to the Grand Prix grid this year after a 16-year break and stunned their rivals Bridgestone with such an early win at Imola last Sunday through Ralf Schumacher.

"We have bonded very strongly with BMW and Williams," explained Dupasquier. "The FW23 chassis is a great success with a fabulous engine and we have shown in the opening four races that our tires are efficient.

"Everyone at Michelin is overjoyed by today's result. It is a great reward for all the hard work the whole team has put in during the past few months.

"Potentially, we had a lot to lose at the start of the year. We took a bold decision to return to Formula One and we're happy to have proved that our confidence was not misplaced."

But the result did not surprise Dupasquier after strong performances by the Williams cars throughout the season so far built his confidence in the overall package.

"In one way, this victory is not so much of a surprise because we had already seen in Brazil that we had the potential to do the job," he said.

"But to win just the fourth race of our comeback is the kind of performance we would not have dared imagine just a couple of months ago."