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AUGUST 28, 2001

Michelin reacts to Hungary humbling

FRENCH tire giant Michelin endured one of the worst weekends in its return to Formula 1 when last the F1 teams gathered in Hungary, when it was completely outpaced on the tight and dusty Hungaroring by its rivals at Bridgestone. Even the Michelin team's ebullient boss Pierre Dupasquier was forced to admit that the event had not gone very well at all, but was determined to do better.

As a result, it has brought out a new tire compound construction for Spa - against a backdrop of complaint its from Japanese rivals, who feel that the recent test by Michelin-shod Toyota might have helped the Michelin technicians gather data to cover the epic Spa circuit.

Because no circuit is permitted to hold a test within three weeks of its Grand Prix, Bridgestone accused its French rival of taking an unfair advantage as Toyota is not registered to the 2001 championship and was therefore free to test. Michelin insists that a control tire was used and little value was gained from it.

"At Spa, we are dealing with very quick corners and we have worked on tires that support high lateral loads at very high speeds," said Michelin's F1 project manager Pascal Vasselon. "What is more, we will use a new tire construction that our teams favored in the most recent round of tests."