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NOVEMBER 3, 2001

Michelin switch more complicated than it looks says Dennis

MCLAREN's CEO Ron Dennis has explained that his team's decision to switch to Michelin rubber in 2002 has nothing to do with any doubt that it could not continue to be successful using Bridgestone tires. It has been done because of McLaren's desire to raise the level of their understanding of the part a racing tire plays in the overall operation of a Grand Prix car.

"The switch was made because we wish to take our technical understanding of the role the tire plays in the performance of both the car, and the suspension of the car, to new levels," he said in Stuttgart yesterday. "To bring those together required a level of technical transparency which we could achieve with Michelin and not with Bridgestone.

"We felt strongly that we wanted to go further relative to tire performance - Michelin was receptive and prepared to go there."

However Dennis rejected any suggestion that Bridgestone had ever shown any preferential treatment to rival teams. "All F1 teams suffer from paranoia," he conceded. "But while you do scratch your head from time to time, there has never been firm evidence we could see of Bridgestone giving preferential treatment to any of our rivals."