Michelin tyres safe for Germany

Formula 1 tyre supplier Michelin insists there is no danger of the high speed blow-out which hit Ralf Schumacher's Williams-BMW during last week's Monza test happening again at this weekend's German Grand Prix

Michelin tyres safe for Germany

Schumacher Jr's left rear tyre blew during the afternoon session on the first day of running at the Italian track. The German kept control of the car and limped back to the pits.

Upon examining the tyre, Michelin technicians were unable to glean much information as the rubber was so badly damaged. A new batch of tyres was made and the French company has taken various steps to ensure it does not happen again this weekend at Hockenheim, one of Formula 1's fastest tracks.

"The main problem with high speed tracks is heat generation, because of the number of revolutions per second the tyres are doing," Michelin's F1 project manager Pascal Vasselon told Autosport. "The main problem with tyres [that fail] are usually thermo-mechanic or production.

"When it [Ralf's tyre] came back to be inspected we could not be completely clear about the problem because the tyre was damaged so much, but from our point of view it was better to consider that it was mechanical failure. It was much better to react like that than underestimate the problem."

Vasselon insists there was never any doubt that Michelin would compete in Germany this weekend and is confident that any problems have been eradicated. Both Michelin and rival supplier Bridgestone are having to maintain relentless development programmes in order to keep pace with one another.

"If we were concerned at all, we would not compete at Hockenheim," said Vasselon. "We have prepared a solution and we believe it is an improvement."

The Williams team, which is the leading Michelin outfit, is also confident that another failure is unlikely this weekend.

"It [Ralf's blow-out] was just a problem with the casting and it was fixed by Michelin pretty quickly," said Williams chief operations engineer Sam Michael. "It won't be an issue this weekend because they have totally changed their tyres and we are fairly happy that there should not be a problem."

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