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Tyre wear rates critical for Monaco 18 May 2005

Yachts in the harbour and a Bridgestone lorry.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Preparations, Monte Carlo, 19 May 2004

In terms of tyres, preparing for the Monaco Grand Prix is never easy. The race is run on public roads, various parts of which are frequently resurfaced, hence finding a similar circuit to test on is close to impossible.

The teams traditionally use fairly soft compounds in Monte Carlo, since average speeds are low and the track surface is generally pretty smooth. However, this year the one set of tyres for qualifying and race rule means compounds may have to be slightly harder.

"Controlling the rate of tyre wear is always the biggest challenge in Monaco,” explained Michelin motorsport director, Pierre Dupasquier. “We have to pay careful attention to the rear tyres because cars are forever accelerating fiercely out of slow corners.

“It is vital that traction control systems are set up correctly, because that can influence wear rates. If a car's rear tyres start to wear more than its fronts, it will begin to oversteer and the driver needs to be much more sensitive with the throttle - especially when exiting slow corners.”

The teams also have to take into account the changing nature of the wear rates of the tyres during the race. “We have learnt from previous years that in the early stages, the front tyres have some graining and the wear is higher than on the rear tyres,” said Hisao Suganuma, Bridgestone’s Technical Manager.

“As the race progresses, however, the wear balance shifts to the rear tyres. So there is plenty to take into consideration when deciding the Bridgestone tyre specifications for Monaco.”

Despite the problems in preparing for the Monte Carlo race, both Formula One tyre suppliers are confident they have got it right for this weekend’s Grand Prix.

“Having won this race for the past three years, we will be doing our utmost to make sure our partner teams have everything they need to maintain that winning streak," says Dupasquier.

“We had a good test last week with Ferrari at the Fiorano circuit to make sure we have made the right choices,” added Suganuma. “It's going to be a very interesting race."