Michelin Pace 'a Big Concern' for Richards

BAR-Honda boss David Richards says that the rapidly improving performance of the Michelin tyres this year has been a "big concern" to his Bridgestone-shod team.

Michelin Pace 'a Big Concern' for Richards

BAR-Honda boss David Richards says that the rapidly improving performance of the Michelin tyres this year has been a "big concern" to his Bridgestone-shod team.

The Brackley-based outfit are the leading Bridgestone runner after World Champions Ferrari but Richards fears they could be swamped by their Michelin-shod rivals if the Japanese manufacturer cannot get their act together.

"It's a big concern, a very big concern for us," said Richards of Michelin's impressive performance. "One assumes that Bridgestone is working as hard at this as we are, and we've just got to continue to work hard together."

Ferrari have struggled in recent races, especially in warmer conditions, and many members of the paddock have criticised Bridgestone for their part in the Italian champions' loss of dominance.

"I'm sure Ferrari's car would appear to be the class of the field and yet they're struggling now, so I think that they will be having some little discussions," Richards added.

Despite the criticism, however, Bridgestone runners still took an equal share of the points scoring positions in Sunday's race as Ferrari finished third and fifth, while BAR finished seventh and Sauber finished eighth. Richards also suggested his Canadian driver Jacques Villeneuve might be creating his own bad luck after his disastrous season continued with retirement at the Nurburgring.

Villeneuve was forced to start from 17th on the grid at the Nurburgring after spinning out of qualifying on Friday and setting a poor time when he led the cars out in Saturday's grid-deciding session. His terrible weekend continued when he dropped to last behind the Minardis at the start, passed them and immediately dropped behind them again after a spin, then had to pit after damaging his front wing.

He eventually retired from the race with gearbox failure but Richards cryptically remarked: "It just seems that you know, yes, very unlucky, but on the other hand whether you make your own luck or not I'm not so sure."

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