It Happened Today – 28 September
On 28th September 2003, Michael Schumacher won the USA Grand Prix. Two weeks earlier in Monza, the German had stopped the rot by securing a magnificent victory at the end of a very closely contested duel with Montoya in the Williams, but the situation in the championship was still very open with the two rivals, plus Kimi Raikkonen at loggerheads.
The weekend got off to a very well balanced start: Ferrari, Williams and McLaren were all pretty much on the same pace. During Saturday’s qualifying, Raikkonen took pole ahead of Barrichello, while Montoya was fourth and Michael was only seventh. The weather was very changeable on Friday and Saturday and it was the same story on Sunday, making the outcome of the race seem even more uncertain although it brought out all of Schumacher’s talent.
Footnote – Thumb Up to Bridgestone!
While Formula 1 is legislated such that every participating race car manufacturer presents cars whose Performance have almost equal engine horsepower and torque, acceleration, and vehicle dynamics, so that victory at races would depend more on driver talent and skills and bravura than just on a sprightly and greatly handling car, Ferrari admits that the Bridgestone wet (or rain) Performance tires enabled Michael’s victory this day.
The Bridgestone wet Performance tires are designed with high-angle grooves and circumferential grooves so that they quickly spin out water from under them, leaving the contact patches pinned to the ground as if it were dried, hardly making the car prone to hydroplaning.
While much is proprietary, one secret ingredient in the Bridgestone Performance tires is silica, which is a filler within the rubber compound that help flex the tire in such a way that contact with ground is definite and slightly spread-out each take – call that sure-footed grip even upon wetness.
According to Ferrari, the performance of the Bridgestone tires was such that Michael was able to continue to reel off quick laps, even when the track was drying out and the other drivers had chosen to return to the grooved tires. He remained on wet tires till victory at the finish line.