Tyre War in Racing

The F1 season which has now commenced will be a battle not only of engines, cars and drivers but of tyres, with Michelin, Goodyear and Pirelli equipping the teams. The first round in the latter war, in Brazil, went to Michelin, the rubber used by Prost’s McLaren MP4. Grands Prix are now run exclusively on radial-ply tyres and Michelin proudly point to the fact that they pioneered this form of construction for racing back in 1977, at the British GP. With candid honesty, as emphasising the development work involved, Michelin recall that from no wins with their tyres during the 1977 season they won five GPs the following year, seven in 1979, three in 1980 and had a breakthrough in 1981, being on 13 winning cars that season when the withdrawal of Goodyear involved Michelin in equipping the majority of the runners, and since then have won eight out of 16 GPs in 1982 and nine out of 15 last year. — W.B.