Saturday May 26th, 2001
French tyre manufacturer Michelin were not expecting to be so close to the top of the Formula One field before they returned to Grand Prix racing at the start of the 2001 season, according to CEO Edouard Michelin.
Michelin, returning to Formula One after an absence of sixteen years, have already scored a victory at this year's San Marino Grand Prix thanks to Williams' Ralf Schumacher, and another podium finish in Spain courtesy of Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya.
"I take pleasure in the fact that we are nearer the top end of the possible scenarios we envisaged in 2001, with some particularly exceptional performances since the start of the season," said Michelin today in Monaco.
"Our technical credibility is recognised and appreciated by our partners. Frank Williams, who visited the Michelin factory last week, has clearly said this. What's more, I get the feeling there is a certain amount of interest from teams not currently running Michelin regarding the technology we have brought to Formula One."
The Michelin-shod teams - Williams, Benetton, Jaguar, Prost and Minardi - have scored nineteen points in the first six races of the season and Williams are currently third in the Constructors' Championship.
The Japanese Toyota team, who will make their Formula One debut at the start of the 2002 season, will also use the French manufacturer's tyres.