Sunday April 29th, 2001
French tyre manufacturer Michelin were happy after Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya gave them another podium finish at Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix. However, they were disappointed to see the retirement of Ralf Schumacher, as they think he could have challenged for victory.
Schumacher, winner of the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola two weeks ago, spun off the track on lap 20, but Williams team mate Montoya was able to score his first points in Formula One, giving Michelin their second podium finish in two races.
"This was a satisfying result for us even if we can't help thinking that Ralf Schumacher might have been able to challenge for victory if he hadn't gone off the track," said Michelin boss Pierre Dupasquier. "With the problems that Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher had towards the end of the race, he could have been well placed to profit.
"Even if most of our partners took the more cautious option and ran our harder rubber, the good news is that the performance difference between the two was relatively small. With the benefit of hindsight, I think the B tyre was potentially the one to go for in the race, mainly because the track became less abrasive as the race wore on.
"We will test in Valencia this week to begin our preparations for the next race at Spielberg, in Austria another track that is completely new to us. In the short term, our target will be to improve the performance of our rain tyres to make sure that we are competitive in every kind of racing situation."