AUGUST 26, 2002
The pressure is on Michelin
The recent races have highlighted that this year Bridgestone is well ahead of Michelin in terms of performance. This is odd when one considers how good the French tires were last year. There is no doubt that Bridgestone has upped its game to meet the Michelin challenge and there is a strong suspicion that the tires which are developed are made to suit the Ferraris. Michelin, on the other hand, now has to supply two top teams - Williams and McLaren - and, in search of a compromise solution seems to have fallen down the middle. One cannot build tires to completely suit two different types of chassis.
This is frustrating but there is not much that can be done about it unless Michelin decides to support one team more than the other - and that is a political minefield. The problem is that there are currently not enough tire companies to go round if there are to be three top teams. Last year Ferrari and McLaren were at odds over the Bridgestone tires and so McLaren switched to Michelin but now it seems there is a similar problem with Williams. The only obvious solution to this problem would be for a third tire manufacturer to come along but this would make the battle even more intense. Goodyear has expressed some interest in getting back into the sport but abandoned the idea because there was no top team available.
Perhaps that situation could now change?
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