Michelin key to Williams hopes

Williams-BMW has set its sights on its third win of the season at this weekend's French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours, and its Michelin tyres should be the key that can unlock another victory

Michelin key to Williams hopes

The Grove-based squad set the pace in testing last month, when test driver Marc Gene outpaced Ferrari's world championship leader Michael Schumacher and McLaren's David Coulthard, who is currently second in the points table. Bridgestone, however, has reacted by taking a brand new tyre to the race for the first time since Imola, where Michelin went on to record its first win of the season.

"After a reasonable test at Magny-Cours at the end of May, we feel Michelin has produced a good tyre for this event," said Sam Michael, Williams-BMW's chief operations engineer. "The track surface grip varies quite a lot with temperature and cloud cover, and this means the timing of your runs during the session is important. The circuit is dominated by fast chicanes and slow to medium speed corners.

"The surface is the smoothest on the F1 calendar and this allows for a different spring and damper set-up if required. Overtaking is always possible into the hairpin at the end of the long back straight, but quite apart from that, a good race strategy is key here."

BMW's motorsport director Mario Theissen is also confident the team has a good chance of repeating its victories in the San Marino and Canadian events.

"The circuit should suit both our car and the Michelin tyres," he said. "We are going to use the same engine specification in Magny-Cours as we did at the Nurburgring. We tested there four weeks ago and were very satisfied with the results. Because of this we think we have a good chance to do well at the French Grand Prix."

After the European Grand Prix, where its cars finished second and fourth, Williams's technical director Patrick Head told Autosport.com: "I think we should be able to compete at every race track from now on through the year. I hope we can make each race less of a two-way battle and more of a three-way battle."

For a full Patrick Head Q&A, click HERE.

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