French Grand Prix – Bridgestone Challenge Michelin

{ Posted on Jul 17 2006 by dScribe }

The Franch Grand Prix at Magny Cours was a lot like the United States Grand Prix.. other than the fact it was held in France and that more than half the field finished the race.

The major difference in the last 2 races has been Bridgestone have produced a better tyre than Michelin. A lot of this can be put down to Michelin being rather conservative and not wanting a repeat of the 2005 United States Grand Prix farce. Yet credit must be given where credit is due – and everyone from Michael Schumacher to Ferrari to Bridgestone deserve creds.

Bridgestone’s latest tyres have catapulted Ferrari back into the winners circle. An improved Toyota TF106B chassis along with Bridgestone tyres have seen Toyota become a serious podium threat at each event. Even Williams has reaped the benefits of the new Bridgestone tyres despite their continual battle with chassis and aero.

One great thing about the 2007 Formula One season is that we’ll get a true idea of what cars really are good and what cars have simply been enjoying a tyre advantage. For most of the 2006 season it would appear the Michelin teams have enjoyed that tyre advantage, but it may be a crucial turning point.

Speaking of points, here they are..

  • Michael Schumacher – A great drive, but nothing memorable. His excitement at the end of the race seems a bit disproportionate to the result with scary shades of Tom Cruise in there.. But if that motivates the team more then all the more power to him.
  • Renault – Made the best of a bad situation by changing Fernando Alonso’s race strategy from 3-stops to 2-stops. An absolutely brilliant move – and something McLaren should have done many times in the last few years (think about the number of times their drivers have come in with less than 15 laps left for a splash-n-dash).
  • Fernando Alonso – Fantastic to see someone push their car to, and sometimes beyond the limit – but not too far beyond the limit ;)  Let’s hope the new car is quick out of the box.
  • Felipe Massa – Aiyo Fred, what are you doing? Almost on pole.. almost keeping up with Michael.. and then finishing 3rd.
  • Pedro de la Rosa – Some great passing moves.. but the end result was similar to what Montoya was achieving. None-the-less, pretty good for a first race back! I think some podiums are definitely in the future of Pedro..
  • Williams – Not another rear tyre failure mystery!? The thing I worry about the most is how will they attract quality drivers in the near future? Will we see Narain Karthikayen in the car next year??
  • Bridgestone – Fantastic job! Shame both Ferrari drivers weren’t wearing your caps for the press conference.. what was that on Massa’s cap anyway? :P

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