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Tyres: The decisive factor

By BMW Sauber F1 Team
September 4 2006

Following the Turkish Grand Prix , the BMW Sauber F1 Team is preparing for the 15th season race with a testing programme in Monza. Among other things, the tyres will be at the centre of all attention. Part I:

During the Turkish GP, Robert Kubica experienced problems with his choice of tyres. The decision of the BMW Sauber F1 Team to go for a softer tyre compound did not work out as expected. "On the first lap of the last stint the tyres were already graining and the pace was massively too slow," Robert Kubica confirmed. "It was our choice but this time it didn't work. It was not all bad, as I had some good fights when the tyres were working."

Tyre partner Michelin has also acknowledged the graining problem: "At the beginning of the race we did suffer from a bit of graining. Overall, however, our products managed to get through one of the most difficult races of the season quite well," Michelin F1-Director Nick Shorrock said.

During the testing programme of the BMW Sauber F1 Team in Monza, tyre manufacturer Michelin has now announced the testing of further tyre developments. "We will take a look at the tyre choice of future races but we also want to focus on improving our performance on the first lap," confirmed Nick Shorrock. "If we're successful it will enable our partners to apply different strategies."

Part II:
Tyres: The connection between the chassis and the track

Formula One racing is about tenths of seconds. The right choice of tyres frequently determines victory or defeat. Optimal tyre performance is essential to be able to transfer the power of a BMW P86 engine to the road.

"Tyres are the only direct link between a single-seater and the track," says Michelin Motorsport Director Frédéric Henry-Biabaud. "And it's true that they can make a difference, one way or the other, of a few tenths of a second per lap."

The key factors are grip and consistency. Henry-Biabaud adds: "Most of the cars are now very close in performance terms and tyres can make a significant difference."

For this reason, Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica have several different sets of tyres at their disposal, modified to suit the varying conditions. The drivers can choose from seven sets of dry tyres with two specifications per race weekend. Additionally, four sets of wet weather tyres, as well as three sets of extreme weather tyres are available.

*Source: BMW Sauber F1 Team

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