Michelin try to keep a grip after US disaster

Michelin have moved to reassure their teams after a disastrous United States Grand Prix.

Michelin have moved to reassure their teams after a disastrous United States Grand Prix.

The French company were left with red faces after their intermediate tyres - which are used in damp weather – were again completely outclassed by rivals Bridgestone.

The problem first surfaced at Silverstone last year but last weekend’s race at Indianapolis exposed Michelin again, leaving motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier to vow improvements.

Juan Pablo Montoya’s title challenge was effectively ended by Michelin’s poor performance in changing conditions and Dupasquier said: “Michelin thrives on competition and we have to pick up a few seconds per lap in rain conditions this winter. I assure you we will.

“In wetter conditions we were losing two seconds per lap on intermediate tyres compared to Michael Schumacher and one second against other competitors. This race has given us lots of useful information.”

Meanwhile, Renault have tipped new test driver Franck Montagny as a star of the future after he impressed during testing.

Montagny was announced as Allan McNish’s replacement for 2004 in the run-up to Indianapolis after tests at Barcelona.

Now Renault’s engineering chief Pat Symonds has revealed his belief that the Frenchman will become a force in Formula One.

He said: “I think Franck has a great future ahead of him.

“We took him to Barcelona last week to do some work for us, and once again, he did a very good job.

“It was a full-test program, looking at some of our Suzuka tyres and working on developments that we were applying to the 2004 car. Once again, he did as as good a job as we would expect of any test driver.”

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