Focus - Michelin expect quick return to form 15 Sep 2003
The Formula One paddock, and in particular the Michelin teams, breathed a sigh of relief after Sunday's race when stewards confirmed that the tyres on all cars had been found legal. All of the Michelin teams competed in Italy with revised, slightly narrower front tyres, designed to comply with the new, much talked about post-race checks on tread width.
That the new rubber would comply was never really in doubt. The real question was whether it would compromise the performance of the likes of Williams, McLaren and Renault. The result may suggest the Michelin teams did suffer - Bridgestone scored their first win since July with Ferrari - but the French company insist Monza was not the ideal circuit at which to judge.
"We came to Monza knowing that our main rival Ferrari would be very strong because the circuit suits its car," said Michelin's Motorsport Director Pierre Dupasquier.
Williams driver Juan Pablo Montoya dogged winner Michael Schumacher throughout the bulk of the Italian race, but was eventually forced to give best to the Ferrari, finishing just over five seconds adrift. However, Dupasquier maintained it was a satisfactory performance in the circumstances and said he expected Michelin to return to winning ways at the last two rounds of the season in the United States and Japan.
"Today was a case of effective damage limitation and I am optimistic that we will regain the upper hand in the final two grands prix," he added.