The Gilles Villeneuve circuit was recently resurfaced and rain has been predicted on every day of the upcoming grand prix weekend… Michelin-shod teams have outperformed Bridgestone-backed Ferrari so far this year, but will that change in Montreal?

The Gilles Villeneuve circuit was recently resurfaced and rain has been predicted on every day of the upcoming grand prix weekend… Michelin-shod teams have outperformed Bridgestone-backed Ferrari so far this year, but will that change in Montreal?


This year’s F1 regulations obligate teams to complete a qualifying session and grand prix on a single set of tyres. As a result, many observers expect the rivalry between Michelin and Bridgestone to be decisive to outcome of the championship.


Ferrari’s failure to win any of the first seven races of the season has been attributed to, among other things, Bridgestone’s high wear rate in earlier grands prix, and lately, the tyres’ apparent inability to reach optimum operating temperature on flying laps. However, the F2005 proved the class of the field in the cooler track temperatures of the San Marino Grand Prix and both Ferraris showed impressive mid-race pace in Monaco, for example.


Apart from Imola, where Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari hounded Fernando Alonso’s Michelin-shod Renault in the closing stages of the race, the French tyre supplier has had a clear edge over its Japanese rival. But, the season has not yet seen a rain-affected race, which is usually Bridgestone’s forte.


Michelin motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier this week said of the Canadian circuit: "The frequent need for hard acceleration places a great deal of emphasis on rear-tyre performance - and the possibility of hot ambient temperatures could complicate matters.


“You have to take care not to let the rear wheels spin too much, because that accelerates wear rates. To counter this phenomenon, we will offer our partner teams tyres with fairly stiff sidewall constructions.


"The Montreal circuit has been completely resurfaced since last season. Our engineers’ research indicates that the asphalt won't be particularly abrasive. That said, it is completely new and has yet to be tested by any racing cars. It is likely that track conditions will evolve significantly throughout the weekend, largely due to the chemical reactions that are an unpredictable by-product of any freshly-laid surface," the Frenchman added.


Weather forecasters are predicting that this weekend's grand prix could be the first wet race of 2005, reports. All three days of the Montreal weekend are expected to be rain-affected and the maximum temperature forecast is 31 C on Saturday.


“Weather depending, we could experience a range of temperatures, but that is something we'll be prepared for,” said Bridgestone's technical manager Hisao Suganuma. “We spent last week testing with both Ferrari and Jordan at Monza and Silverstone and expect a competitive couple of weeks in Canada and the US".


"Because the corners are not taken at high speed, tyre wear is quite low and that, combined with the relatively smooth track surface, means we can take tyres with compounds from the softer end of the scale” Suganuma added.