Michelin depart on a championship high 23 Oct 2006
Departing supplier dedicates title double to Edouard
Tyre suppliers Michelin completed a clean sweep of this year's world championship titles at Sundays Brazilian Grand Prix. In their final scheduled Formula One appearance, they saw six of their cars score points, with Fernando Alonso and Renault wrapping up the drivers and constructors crowns.
Six seasons after returning to Formula One racing, the result ensured that Michelin bow out of the sport with their heads held high. After the Interlagos race, Michelin CEO, Michel Rollier, thanked his staff and paid tribute to his predecessor, Edouard Michelin, who was tragically killed in a boating accident earlier this year.
"I am very proud of the Michelin team, which knew how to fulfil the needs of Fernando Alonso and Renault, said Rollier. This has been an exciting season and the fierce competition between the two tyre companies provided an extra element of interest. I would like to thank Fernando Alonso and the whole Renault team for the confidence they have shown in us throughout the campaign - and also for helping to push us to such heights. At this time, naturally, my thoughts turn to the late Edouard Michelin who was always the driving force behind Michelin's participation in Formula One. I would like to dedicate this year's double title success to him."
Michelin did not have the fastest tyre at Interlagos - Bridgestone took a comfortable victory courtesy of Felipe Massa and Ferrari - but the early safety-car period and Michael Schumachers puncture played into Michelins hands, leaving F1 director Nick Shorrock delighted with the outcome.
"Today's higher temperatures caused us a few concerns before the race, because they were some way beyond the ideal operating window of certain partners' tyre choices, said Shorrock. As things turned out, though, we had no problems at all. The tyres held up very well and were extremely consistent throughout the race.
"The main thing today, naturally, is to compliment Fernando Alonso and Renault on retaining their two world titles and to thank all our partners for the excellent work they have put in throughout the year. Our main rival was clearly very fast today, but one or two incidents worked in our favour during the race's early stages. That's the nature of this sport.
"This year's world championship was decided not today but over the course of a long, 18-race season and Michelin has proved the excellence of its products throughout the campaign. We were determined to go out in style in our farewell F1 season and I think the results speak for themselves."
Formula One racing will feature a single tyre supplier - Bridgestone - from 2007.