Head Concerned Over Michelin

BMW-Williams' Technical Director Patrick Head expressed his concerns about a possible lack of performance from the Michelin tyres next season, when the French manufacturer will return to Formula One after more than fifteen years.

Head Concerned Over Michelin

BMW-Williams' Technical Director Patrick Head expressed his concerns about a possible lack of performance from the Michelin tyres next season, when the French manufacturer will return to Formula One after more than fifteen years.

Williams will be one of the six teams to use Michelin tyres in 2001, while five of them, including Ferrari and McLaren, will stick to Bridgestone, who Head believes made a lot of progress at the end of this season.

"Towards the end of the season Bridgestone certainly raised the performance level," Head said, "and I'm certain in 2001 they will raise it even further. For Michelin it's going to be quite steep wall that they are going to have to climb to get on the same sort of level."

Despite an extensive testing programme, Head thinks Michelin will inevitably struggle to match Bridgestone's pace due to their lack of knowledge of the Grand Prix circuits.

"I think inevitably you'd have to say there is going to be more chance that Michelin will get the tyre compound for a particular track and a particular condition wrong more times next year than Bridgestone will."

Head, whose team had just signed Spaniard Marc Gene as test driver for next season, also talked about the importance of an experienced driver to develop the new tyres.

"An increasing amount of fine judgement is needed for Formula One testing," Head added, "particularly when assessing tyres is involved. So we have decided that the test driving role should go to somebody who is quite seasoned in the F1 business, rather than a raw recruit."

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