Thursday April 12th, 2001
French tyre manufacturer Michelin left Brazil on a high despite scoring only one point after losing what, for most of the race, seemed to be their first victory since returning to Formula One. Despite their performance, there's still a lot of work to do, admits Michelin boss Pierre Dupasquier.
German driver Ralf Schumacher started from the front row at Interlagos, while teammate Juan Pablo Montoya led half the race at the wheel of the Michelin-shod Williams, which was a clear indication of the tyres' performance.
"The performance of the two Williams-BMW gives us good reason to believe that our tyres are both competitive and durable," said Dupasquier. "Ralf's fastest lap and the promising times we achieved when the rain was at its heaviest suggest we are on the pace. We have taken another step forward, but there is still much, much more work to do."
At Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix, and for the first time this season, Michelin will race at a circuit they already know, but Dupasquier admits things won't be easier than in the first three races of the season.
"We don't know Imola any better than we did Sepang or Interlagos," Dupasquier added. "True, we did a private test session there with our development chassis last year, but the track was so dirty that the car was trailing a dust cloud behind it.
"We weren't able to learn a great deal during our time there. The way we handle the corners at Tamburello and Acque Minerale this weekend will tell us whether we are still moving in the right direction."