Pierre Dupasquier Q&A

Another welcome ingredient will be added to the F1 mix when Michelin returns to Grand Prix racing next year. The French company first entered the sport with Renault in 1977, and won 59 GPs and three World Championships with Jody Scheckter (Ferrari, 1979), Nelson Piquet (Brabham, 1983) and Niki Lauda (McLaren, 1984). Williams and Jaguar were the first teams to sign up for 2001, and both have provided chassis for use as mobile test beds, while Toyota will also use Michelin rubber when it joins the fray in 2002. Adam Cooper spoke to Pierre Dupasquier, the company's veteran motor sport boss, about Michelin's plans

Pierre Dupasquier Q&A

"Mainly because the company wanted to prove that after success it was able to make other decisions and concentrate on other things. It was a case of we did it, we can stop doing it, but we may come back."

"Because we didn't feel that it was the time to be in F1 again, but lately we had some good opportunities and the right environment that told us it was the right time to come back."

"There was a lot of discussion. It has been a long process of evaluating does a company like Michelin have to be there or not? That was the question. And the final decision was taken last year to come in for various reasons - marketing, the position of Michelin in the world, our relationship with car manufacturers who are our partners."

"Another way to ask that is what would you lose not being in F1. That's probably the answer! We have to think that we lose something."

"It is a challenge. When you make a challenge like that, you may lose. So you have to think twice, as we are not alone. We have a car with us, we have a team, we have drivers, we have a lot of things - so it's not obvious that we win. In the history of F1 even with equal tyres there have been many changes in the last 10 years. And so when you enter you absolutely don't know what will happen and when. So you have to be determined to put your name up front, to tell your potential customers that you had the guts to do it, to go for it, and you have the technology behind you to be successful."

"Exactly. The point is we improved a lot because of the competition, because of the change of regulations, because of the changes in cars. We had for example to develop competitive and safe tyres for the touring cars - such a little piece of rubber, with 300bhp! It has been very difficult. And the proof is that only Michelin survived that war, almost. We worked a lot and discovered a lot of things. Le Mans is not an easy track either. It's difficult. Last year we won the GT championship in Japan - the one team with Michelin. These are things which pushed us to keep thinking, keep asking ourselves some questions."

"It is important to co-operate with a manufacturer, and we've been with them for a long time. With Toyota we won the World Rally Championship, we won GT with them, and naturally they asked us, 'We've decided to go to F1, will you come in with us?' Same for BMW. There is no point for us to hope to be successful, or understand what is going on and develop, if we are not partnered with a competitive, established team at the top, understanding what's going on, knowing all about aerodynamics, with a decent engine. Which means a top team - only there do you get the right engineers, the right knowledge."

"One thing we are sure. History told us that a top team is not a top team forever. So things may change. Will change, I should say - but I don't know when."

"I don't know. I guess Bridgestone is fair enough to do the appropriate service for a team like Williams. And they are obliged to anyway, because they must supply all the teams with the same tyres."

"They are quite careful. I read some comments that they have mixed feelings about Michelin, and I understand that."

"What makes us happy is to be free, and do the best we can to solve a problem. We like to make the best possible tyre according to our knowledge to solve the problem. But it's, 'No, no, you can't do that.' It's something which is somehow frustrating."

"It's no challenge. We've made rain tyres for a long time, and intermediate tyres. It's just a question of adjusting to the particular performance of the particular car. We feel we are here to learn, we need to understand. We have a lot of things to explore, like constructions. When you try to apply your knowledge to a particular rule you have to take everything you know, and put it on the track."

"No, we had enough things to keep ourselves busy, so it was no problem. But it's the most visible thing, but I hate crowds to tell you the truth. Waking up at 4am to reach Brands Hatch like in the past - I have no interest in that!"

"I would say it was the time we won our first GP in Rio in 1978. Mauro Forghieri and I were both on the wall, to try to slow down Carlos Reutemann. He was leading by a minute. When he finished the race we told him we were afraid that something broke in the car, and we just wanted him to slow down. He said he was already so slow he couldn't go any slower! That was a good memory. It showed that we were up there, and we were competitive."

shares
comments
Peugeot says F1 pull-out is final

Previous article

Peugeot says F1 pull-out is final

Next article

Villeneuve Attacks Schumacher Again

Villeneuve Attacks Schumacher Again
Load comments
Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track' Plus

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'

Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks Plus

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks

OPINION: Red Bull was justified to be upset that Lewis Hamilton survived his British GP clash with Max Verstappen and went on to win. But its attempts to lobby the FIA to reconsider the severity of Hamilton's in-race penalty were always likely to backfire, and have only succeeded in creating a PR disaster that will distract from its on-track efforts

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Plus

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021
The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break Plus

The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break

OPINION: Formula 1 is about to break up for summer 2021, with the title battles finely poised. But it’s not just the latest round of Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton that will be worth watching this weekend in Hungary, as plenty of drivers are eying big results to change the stories of their seasons so far

Formula 1
Jul 28, 2021
How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Plus

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but 
flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Plus

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't Plus

How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says OLEG KARPOV, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021
The signs that point to F1's rude health Plus

The signs that point to F1's rude health

OPINION: Formula 1's calendar might still be facing disruption as the pandemic affects travel but, says MARK GALLAGHER, the business itself is fundamentally strong thanks to the epic rivalry taking place on track and the consistent arrival of new sponsors

Formula 1
Jul 24, 2021