Fickle weather continued to be a hallmark of the 2018/2019 ABB FIA Formula E Championship when much of Saturday afternoon’s Paris E-Prix was affected by high winds and heavy showers. Drivers even faced a spell of hailstorms for the first time in the championship’s history, which made the French clash even more complex for the teams who had to keep adjusting the set-up of their respective cars as a function of the shifting conditions and their drivers’ racing styles.
Big temperature variations also played a big role in the streets of Paris, since the thermometer climbed from just a few degrees early in the morning to almost 15°C for the start of the race (track temperature: 23°C), before dropping to around 10°C again when rain swept over the French capital just 15 minutes into the e-prix.

 

Despite the rapidly-changing weather, the drivers were able to count on the latest-generation MICHELIN Pilot Sport which has repeatedly showcased its remarkable versatility since the start of Formula E’s ‘Season 5’ by providing competitive performance across an exceptionally broad spectrum of conditions.

The 2019 Rome E-Prix (Saturday, April 13) took place in relatively cool but globally dry conditions after rain swept over the Italian capital during both the pole position shoot-out and the build-up to the start of the race itself. The 2.85-kilometre, 21-turn circuit, which visits the city’s EUR business district, is a big favourite with the drivers who enjoy its hilly course and technical challenge.

 

In spite of the poor weather, the teams and drivers succeeded in showcasing the potential of not only their latest-generation ‘Gen2’ cars but also their specifically-developed Michelin tyres which have contributed significantly to the performance gain seen in the championship this season.

 

This improvement was roundly illustrated in Rome by the fastest race lap which was posted by Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Techeetah) whose effort of 1m29.370s amply beat the 1m35.467s clocked by Félix Rosenqvist (Mahindra) in 2018. That’s the biggest improvement ever seen at the same circuit since the championship’s launch in September 2014 and adds to the numerous records already established by the MICHELIN Pilot Sport in the frequently extreme conditions encountered since the beginning of the 2018/2019 campaign.

The 2019 Tour de Corse ended in sunny Calvi on Sunday afternoon after three days of exciting action in bright weather that rapidly erased memories of the snow that had been spotted on parts of the route earlier in the week during recce.

 

Although the tyre allocation for the WRC’s first ‘clear’ asphalt round of the year provided a choice between soft- and hard-compound tyres, the WRC drivers ran the hard Pilot Sport H5 from start to finish. Their WRC2 colleagues chose the similarly-hard MICHELIN Pilot Sport RH3 practically exclusively, too, but some of the class’s Michelin runners opted to carry one or two softer MICHELIN Pilot Sport RSs as possible alternatives on Friday.
This year’s Tour de Corse featured a new-look itinerary, with only two stages carried over from 2018. The service park was based next to Bastia Airport again, but competitive action also took crews into the mountains near Porto Vecchio to the south, as well as to the western coast near Calvi where the rally concluded on Sunday afternoon. The total distance of 1,194.06 kilometres included 347.51km divided into 14 stages, the longest of which was Castagniccia (47.18km). This marathon test was visited twice on Saturday and was always going to be one of the week’s toughest challenges for tyres, but the MICHELIN Pilot Sport rose to the occasion impeccably to deliver a winning combination of high performance and longevity.

The biggest crowd in Sebring International Raceway history packed the historic Florida race circuit for an extraordinary week that was properly billed as SuperSebring and became the largest event in Michelin Motorsport history.

 

Called upon to support four championships, including the prestigious FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech Championship, and 137 of 140 entries, Michelin responded with a massive 24,000 square foot tent housing 16,000 tires, 55 engineers and motorsport tire specialists, and a 42-person tire mounting center staff.

 

“With 20 different automotive marques, and so many outstanding teams, and drivers it was a great responsibility to provide the tires and technical support to help the teams perform at the highest possible level,” said Matthieu Bonardel, Michelin director of motorsport.

 

“Sebring is the birthplace of American endurance racing and a technically demanding circuit. The tremendous number of fans provided us the opportunity to engage with them and share their passion for motorsport. They inspired everyone to perform at the highest possible level every lap.”

 

By the end of Saturday’s 67th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Michelin teams had recorded 30,803 laps, or more than 127,234 miles, of the fast and bumpy 3.74 mile, 17-turn Florida circuit throughout the weekend in a wide range of conditions. The resulting data and insights are invaluable in the development of future products.

The eleven teams participating in the 2018/2019 ABB FIA Formula E Championship – which all race on tyres provided by Michelin, a founding partner of the all-electric single-seater racing series – gathered in Sanya, on southern China’s Hainan Island, for Round 6 on Saturday, March 23.

The combination of 90 percent humidity and air and ground temperatures of 27°C and 51°C respectively led to punishing conditions for the drivers, their cars and, of course, their tyres.

The MICHELIN Pilot Sport for the Formula E has already had to contend a wide variety of climate-related challenges since the start of the season, but this was the first time it faced the sort of high humidity levels that are to be expected in this part of Asia at this time of year.

After the recent rainy clash in Hong Kong, and despite predictions of a tornado sweeping over Hainan Island, race day stayed dry throughout, however, and the 22 drivers were able to push from flag to flag in what proved to be a drama-filled e-prix as the quality of their tyres played a key role once again.
“The track’s asphalt was laid fairly recently, and was even completely new in places, but Sanya turned out to be quite hard-wearing,” says Serge Grisin, the manager of Michelin’s Formula E programme. “So that made it a good test ahead of Berlin [Germany] which is the most challenging venue of the year in terms of wear. It also gave us a chance to collect more valuable data and demonstrate once again that the Michelin Pilot Sport really does cover the full spectrum of possible race conditions. In addition to the heat and humidity, we also had to cope with sand blown onto the circuit from the nearby beach , so the conditions were a bit of a mix of Putrajaya, in Malaysia, Punta Del Este, in Uruguay, and Berlin. I believe our third-generation Formula E tyre delivered its best overall performance yet in Sanya and, thanks to its lower rolling resistance compared with its predecessors, the drivers were able to exploit the range of their cars all the way to the finish.”

The inaugural Sanya E-Prix was won by Jean-Eric Vergne (DS-Techeetah), ahead of Oliver Rowland (Nissan-e.dams) and Antonio Felix Da Costa (BMW i Andretti).

The next round of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship will take teams to Rome, Italy, on April 13.

No other round of the FIA World Rally Championship presents teams with such a complex challenge in terms of tyre strategy as the Rallye Monte-Carlo.

 

This year’s shifting conditions and weather made getting tyre choices right a particularly tough exercise. Some calls may have seemed perplexing for those not directly involved in the sport, but they were all driven by the same quest for optimum performance in the mixed-bag conditions.

 

From Day 1, Michelin Motorsport’s technical team noted some contrasting options.


The very first stage on Thursday evening was 60-percent snow, while the next test featured icy patches, so we expected all the crews to opt for the MICHELIN Pilot Alpin A41 CL which is equipped with 200 metal studs. The main exception was Thierry Neuville who chose four ‘super-soft’ MICHELIN Pilot Sport SS6 asphalt tyres which were ideal for the clearer portions but which provide less grip on snow and ice. Although this aggressive option meant he was likely to lose ground on the snowy and icy sections, it gave him a chance of pulling back a lot of that handicap elsewhere. On SS1, he effectively dropped a handful of seconds but he declared that the Pilot Sport SS6 had given him more grip than he had been expecting, and he went on to post the fastest time on SS2. It was very satisfying for us to see that this was possible and it provided further evidence of the SS6’s exceptional value on this sort of event.

Arnaud Rémy, the manager of Michelin’s rally programmes

Once again, Rally Sweden lived up every bit to its promise, despite crews having to cope with a taxing blend of ice, snow and exposed gravel.

As usual, fans turned out in huge numbers and flocked to the event’s famous spectator spots like ‘Colin’s Crest’ where the cars take off and perform spectacular leaps of up to and more than forty metres.

To help them rise to the challenge posed by this year’s Rally Sweden, Michelin provided its WRC partners with the MICHELIN X-Ice North 3 equipped with 384 studs to bite into the frozen ground. Meanwhile, its partners competing in the WRC2 Pro (for factory teams) and WRC2 (privateers) classes ran the MICHELIN X-Ice NA01, a brand new studded tyre designed specifically for championship’s R5 cars.

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