DECEMBER 24, 2001
McLaren engineers concentrate on Michelin link
THE McLaren Mercedes team is trying to improve in all areas of performance for the year ahead but there is one specific area of development which the Woking team is concentrating on at the moment: the way the tires interact with the chassis. Most F1 engineers agree that this is the area where the biggest gains in performance can be found at the moment and the knack is to either develop tires which work with the chassis or design a chassis to work with the tires. With only two tire manufacturers in Formula 1 it is inevitable that they are going to work with their strongest teams and although they are supplying the same rubber to their various teams the tires are designed to suit the frontrunning cars. Everyone else has to make do with what they are given.
There were always problems for Bridgestone to produce tires that suited both McLaren and Ferrari and this is one of the reasons that McLaren finally decided to switch to Michelin. Now the French company has to try to walk the fine line between McLaren and Williams. Compromise can affect the performance.
The race is now on between the vehicle dynamicists of the various teams to get the new tires working best with the chassis that are being planned...
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