Michelins Motorsport Director, Pierre Dupasquier, has been reported in the British media saying that the tyre manufacturer developed new compounds and constructions for Formula 1 during the winter. Compared with 2002, the new tyres should be about one second quicker per lap and he hopes that the teams Michelin fits in 2003 can break the dominance of the Bridgestone/Ferrari package.
It has been decided by Formula 1s governing bodies that any technical changes will be delayed until the 2005 season. One of the expected changes is the re-introduction of slick tyres, but this has been opposed by Rory Byrne, Chief Designer for Ferrari. He believes that driving on slicks with todays faster lap times would increase the danger for the drivers.
The Goodyear Eagle F1 which has been progressively rolled out around the world through 2002 is to become the first global tyre. The aim of global tyres is to produce tyre sizes for the worldwide market from single region manufacturing points. That is to say, tyres of any given size type will be manufactured in a single region and shipped globally. Currently eight North-American specific tyre sizes are manufactures in Lawton, Oklahoma, and 31 popular European sizes are manufactured in Germany. The global approach will significantly reduce manufacturing and equipment costs. The F1 is the first of many tyres that Goodyear will be offering on a global scale.
Bridgestone, the worlds second largest tyre manufacturer, invited a party of tyre dealers and important customers to the Monaco Grand Prix. And there was reason to celebrate as the first two drivers home were racing in cars shod with Bridgestone tyres. Michelin had to be content with third place, which went to Eddie Irvine. The Bridgestone management is using Formula One events to improve its relationships with important partners, plus involvement in motorsports breeds success – over the past three years brand image and brand awareness have improved significantly in Europe and Latin America. This not only helps to ensure that the ambitious volume targets are met, but has the effect of improving the consumers perception of the quality of the brand, which means that they are willing to pay a higher price for the tyres.
Speaking just before the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours, Bridgestone President Shigeo Watanabe said that the company would remain a tyre supplier to Formula 1 indefinitely. He added: Being in F1 has boosted our corporate image generally and has put us at the forefront of tyre technology in the eyes of the world. Our brand awareness has dramatically increased all over the world. Watanabe said that the future would see more car manufacturers involved in the sport and he believes the number of tyre manufacturers will increase also.
Fondmetal Boss Sells the Majority of His F1 Racing Team
The owner of the well-known Italian aluminium wheel factory, Gabriele Rumi, with 68% has sold the majority of the Minardi Formula 1 racing team to US-media conglomerate Panamerican Sports Network, but still retains 30% of the shares.
Michelin is worried that data on its tyres might be made available to Ferrari (Bridgestone) if the French company supplies the Alain Prost F1 team with tyres next season. Prost will be using Ferrari engines. As the new company on the block, Michelin is obliged to supply 60% of the grid. Bridgestone has signed with six teams, and says that it is not looking for more, which would appear to leave Michelin with little choice other than to supply Prost.
Tom Kristensen, in a BMW-engined Williams FW21B, tested the latest version of Michelin F1 tyres in Miramas. The Dane was very impressed with the standard of the Michelin program and the technical progress the engineers achieved between the two 4-day sessions.
While, for example Michelin, declares the demands of Le Mans comparable with Formula 1, Goodyear is fitting the Corvette of the official Chevrolet team and a private BMW prototype with the Eagle F1 street tread pattern.
Fastest Corvette With Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar Tyres
Chevrolet is calling its 2001 Corvette Z06 a production vehicle thats ready for the racetrack. The P265/40ZR17 (front) and P295/35ZR18 (rear) Eagle F1 Supercar tyres weigh 23.4 pounds less than the run-flat tyres. The weight savings comes from removing the run-flat reinforcements as well as using lighter weight internal components.