Renault has embarked on a bit of back-paddling after team principal Flavio Briatore urged tyre supplier Michelin to ‘wake up’.
After losing twice on the trot to Bridgestone-shod Ferrari, he hinted that the French marque had begun to ease off the throttle as its withdrawal from formula one at the end of 2006 neared.
”It’s time for Michelin to wake up,” Briatore told an Italian newspaper. ”We’ve won a lot, but we’d like to do it for three or four races more, in order to be certain of winning the championship.”
In the team-prepared ‘preview’ of the German grand prix, however, director of engineering Pat Symonds was quoted as strongly backing Michelin’s push for development in the run to the ’06 chequered flag.
He said: ”They are putting in that little bit extra in every area, and if anything, the fact they are leaving F1 at the end of the year has only made them more determined to leave as champions.”
Renault driver Giancarlo Fisichella, however, conceded that the tyre situation is presently a finely-poised battle between the two warring marques.
”So it is hard to make too many predictions about performance between the teams before we start running (at Hockenheim),” he said.