Formula 1 News - October 2005
16 October: Pierre Dupasquier – architect of 1300 wins and 180 world titles
Pierre Dupasquier, who retires at the end of
this season, has led Michelin’s motorsport division for 28 years – a veritable eternity in a domain where the pace of change is
so intense. He has managed the department with an iron fist in a velvet glove – but above all he has done so with an impish smile
and a sense of humour, assets that have made him a tremendously popular figure in paddocks and service areas all around the world.
Pierre Dupasquier conceived the idea of a separate motorsport
division within Michelin back in 1973. His foresight was rewarded during the fresh initiative’s very first season, because
Michelin lifted the World Rally Championship for Manufacturers, with Alpine Renault, and on two wheels scored a memorable Isle of
Man Tourist Trophy success with Jack Findlay.
A dedicated motorsport enthusiast, Pierre Dupasquier proved during his department’s formative days that he understood how to give Michelin a winning edge in rallying – but he harboured much broader ambitions for the Clermont-Ferrand company. In 1974 Michelin notched up its first road-course wins in the motorcycling world championship and by 1977 was ready to tackle the pinnacle of four-wheeled competition – the F1 world championship. The goal wasn’t simply to establish a foothold in a branch of the sport that was hitherto completely unknown to the French company, but to do so while pioneering radical technology in the form of the radial tyre. But then Pierre has never been one to shirk a challenge.
It took just six months for the company to register its maiden Formula One success – on January 29 1978 Carlos Reutemann took his Michelin-shod Ferrari to victory in the Brazilian Grand Prix. One season later, in 1979, Dupasquier’s team scored an F1 world title double with Jody Scheckter and Ferrari. The adventure was gathering momentum.
Between 1973 and 1984, then from 1990 until the present day (he spent the intervening period working on other Michelin projects in America), Pierre Dupasquier’s commitment has been absolute – and that much is clear from the company’s exemplary track record: Michelin has proved itself master of all terrains, from the African desert (where it has scored 20 Dakar Rally victories) to the F1 circuits of the world (92 wins, 100 pole positions, 99 fastest laps and counting) via the challenging asphalt of Le Mans (13 outright wins to date).
And at the same time, Pierre – a dedicated fan of motorcycling, a pursuit he enjoys in his leisure time – has never lost sight of racing on two wheels. In the early days he was very involved in developing high-performance competition tyres in this domain. He has played a significant part in the diverse successes Michelin has achieved in all major motorcycle competitions, including MotoGP, Superbikes, the Dakar Rally, Bol d’Or, motocross and trials riding.
Pierre has repeatedly pointed out that Michelin’s strength lies in its ability to “listen to its partners and adapt to any situation” – and a career tally of 1300 wins and 180 world titles proves that he has a very good ear. Throughout his long and distinguished career, he has always appreciated the importance of paying close attention to its partners’ observations, analysing the accumulated data and making sure every team fully understands the conclusions. He’s always had a very singular goal: to develop increasingly effective competition tyres for Michelin.
Michelin chairman Edouard Michelin underlined Pierre Dupasquier’s fabled commitment. He said: “I would like to express my appreciation of Pierre’s devotion to Michelin and, particularly, the values he represents: his sense of team spirit, his strong work ethic, his honesty and his respect for our partners.”
This season, Michelin’s fantastic volley of victories in F1, the World Rally Championship and MotoGP – to name but three significant areas of success – has been an appropriate tribute to the man who has dedicated so much of his career to motorsport. Pierre Dupasquier has never relented in his quest to drive Michelin forward, pursuing ever higher standards in terms of both speed and safety.
Michelin’s motorsport track record under Pierre Dupasquier (as of October 15 2005)
1300 wins in world championship events, including:
180 world titles, including:
*Pierre Dupasquier is on the threshold of guiding Michelin to a 16th success in the World Rally Championship for Manufacturers, because Citroën heads the 2005 points table with three rounds to go.
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