Michelin’s illustrious grand prix history PDF Print E-mail
Just six months after making its Formula One debut, Michelin scored its maiden victory when Ferrari driver Carlos Reutemann dominated the 1978 Brazilian Grand Prix. It was the beginning of a long winning streak... One year later, Michelin scored its first 1-2-3 in the French GP and Jody Scheckter steered his Michelin-shod Ferrari to the world title. And although the Renault Turbo was initially a source of great amusement to rivals when it first appeared on its pioneering radial tyres, it went on to prove its mettle and scored a number of victories for Michelin during the early 1980s.

1977 Legend of the yellow teapot

July 17 is still engrained in the memory: in partnership with Renault, Michelin makes its F1 debut in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Britain's specialist constructors smile at Jean-Pierre Jabouille's RS01, but radial tyres and turbocharged engines will soon be de rigueur on the starting grid.

1978 • "El lole" breaks Michelin’s duck

Six months after Michelin's F1 debut, Carlos Reutemann (Ferrari) scores the company's first win in the Brazilian Grand Prix at Jacarepagua, Rio. Two months later the Argentine idol notches up Michelin's first F1 pole position in the US GP West at Long Beach.

1979 • Michelin’s double title triumph


Jody Scheckter (Ferrari) is world champion driver and his team wins the title for constructors. To top it all off, Michelin scores its first 1-2-3 F1 finish in the French GP, where Jean-Pierre Jabouille gives the Renault turbo engine its maiden win.

1980 • The years roll on… and no two look the same

Renault scores 3 victories but this time Michelin has no others more titles to add to its tally.

1981 • 13 wins = fightback


Michelin ends up supplying the whole grand prix field for 7 races. There are 15 events in all and Michelin wins 13.

1982 • Close, but..

Michelin captures 11 pole positions and 8 wins, but even that is not enough to secure any additional F1 titles. Running on Michelins, McLaren driver John Watson finishes as world championship runner-up.

1983 • Another title in the bag

Nelson Piquet (Brabham/ Michelin) just pips Alain Prost (Renault/Michelin) to bring another world championship for drivers to Clermont-Ferrand. Michelin racks up 9 wins in all thanks to Piquet (3), Prost (4), John Watson (McLaren, 1) and Riccardo Patrese
(Brabham, 1).

1984 • 59 wins in 112 grands prix

14 wins from 16 GPs contested – stop – Niki Lauda (McLaren) crowned world champion driver – stop – McLaren picks up constructors' title – stop – Michelin decides to withdraw after proving the worth of its radial technology at the pinnacle of motor racing.

2000 • Michelin, the comeback

Michelin returns to F1. The news is announced in December 1999. Throughout 2000, Michelin test drivers Tom Kristensen and Jörg Müller evaluate more than 3,000 tyres and cover more than 10,000km – or about 20 grand prix distances – at a number of different circuits.

2001 Mission accomplished

Michelin hasn't set itself the easiest of tasks by committing to the highest-profile motor sport of them all. It works with a number of particularly determined partners in the form of the BMW WilliamsF1 Team, Renault Sport, Jaguar Racing, Prost-Acer and European Minardi, but it neither knows the circuits nor their individual idiosyncrasies. At the end of a long season, however, those who proposed such an endeavour are able to breathe a sigh of relief: Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) share four wins, four pole positions and a number of fastest race laps.

2002 • A lot of ground covered in a short space of time…

Michelin might have finished the campaign with “only” two victories to its name, but it makes significant – and positive – technical progress with its range of dry-weather tyres.A string of encouraging results confirms that Michelin’s research and development engineers are taking steps in the right direction. By progressively finding its feet in F1, the company meets its initial targets and shows that it can offer its partner teams an advantage. Michelin eliminates virtually all the glitches it had encountered on its return to the sport in 2001. What’s more, by making a like-for-like comparison Michelin is able to demonstrate that it had gained an edge over its direct rival. The final championship standings reflect as much. The “men in red” might have wrapped up the top two positions, but Michelin drivers annexe the next seven. That doesn’t just happen by chance…

2003 • Michelin in full flight

It takes just three seasons to transform Michelin from a rookie returnee to a challenger capable of fighting for world title honours. In a sport as intense as F1, Michelin’s technical progress is down to dedicated hard work, pure and simple.

In 2003 Michelin’s results fulfil the Group’s ambitions and confirm that constant, significant progress has been made. It scores seven victories and 30 podium finishes – and the Hungarian GP will remain as an unforgettable highlight : when Michelin cars take the top seven positions. Michelin’s tyre-development expertise is clear for all to see. In addition, for the first time in several seasons the Formula One championship titles for drivers and constructors are not settled until the season’s final race.

2004  • Three wins, despite the dominant reds

The 2004 season is notable for Ferrari’s almost total dominance. The Italian team wins the titles for both constructors and – courtesy of Michael Schumacher – drivers. Despite the Scuderia’s run of form, Michelin underlines its ability to furnish competitive tyres to a wide range of partners by scoring a hat trick of victories with three different teams: Jarno Trulli (Renault) wins in Monaco, Kimi Räikkönen (McLaren-Mercedes) in Belgium and Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams-BMW) in Brazil. B·A·R Honda, which is running on Michelin tyres for the first time, has its best season to date and finishes second in the world championship for constructors. Michelin might not have taken any titles, but it still has a peerless reputation – that’s why Sauber-Petronas signs up as a seventh partner in for 2005.

2005 • Simply the best

Michelin supplie s 70 per cent of the field and w ins 18 of the 19 races – a 94.7 per cent strike rate – as it swe eps to en emphatic title double. Michelin drivers Fernando Alonso (Renault F1 Team) and Kimi Räikkönen (McLaren Mercedes) engage in an epic title duel that produce s some of the most spectacular F1 racing in recent memory. Alonso eventually secure s the crown with a couple of races to spare and, at 24, ma kes history as the sport’s youngest champion. His victory in the Shanghai seasonal finale clinche s the constructors’ title for Renault . With the sport edging towards a new era of control tyres in the medium term , Michelin – which has always participated in motorsport for the competitive benefits it brings – announces that it will take another F1 sabbatical at the end of the 2006 season. In the interests of fair competition, the company also actively seeks more even tyre distribution within the F1 paddock . It achieves its goal and signs deals with six teams for 2006.

The last year in Formula 1, 2006, brings Michelin the double World Championship. Renault wins the constructors tutle, Alonso the drivers Championship. Will we ever see Michelin back in Formula 1?

 

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