Australian GP: Bridgestone preview

Bridgestone set for Australian GP with all new tyres for all new rules After months of winter testing, Bridgestone Motorsport is all set for the opening round of the 2005 FIA Formula One World Championship on March 6 in Melbourne, ...

Bridgestone set for Australian GP with all new tyres for all new rules

After months of winter testing, Bridgestone Motorsport is all set for the opening round of the 2005 FIA Formula One World Championship on March 6 in Melbourne, Australia.

This year sees the introduction of new tyre, engine and aerodynamic regulations as well as a new qualifying format and Bridgestone has been working closely with its three teams: World Champions Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, Jordan Grand Prix and Minardi F1; to meet these new challenges.

One set of tyres this year must last for both qualifying sessions, all reconnaissance laps and the entire race and Bridgestone will therefore be arriving in Australia this week with all new tyres for its three teams.

Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Motorsport:

"We are very much looking forward to this exciting new season. The regulations this year will make it especially interesting and a challenge for all involved. Each driver has only four sets of dry tyres per race weekend and this will test both the tyre manufacturers and the drivers. However, our technical personnel have been working extremely hard and I have confidence in their ability to rise to the challenge."

"Our partner teams have also taken on this extra challenge with us and I wish them the best of luck this season. Australia is an excellent location to start the year. Not only is it a well organised race but we are always made to feel very welcome by the great spectators so we hope we can give them a good show and come away with a good result."

The 2005 Tyres
Bridgestone Motorsport is sending five dry weather specifications of Potenza Formula One tyre to Melbourne by air freight direct from its Tokyo based production factory. Each one of these dry weather specifications, which have been tailored specifically for the new regulations, is new and has therefore never been raced before.

Bridgestone will also be sending one wet weather tyre and one extreme weather tyre specification to Australia, both of which are new specifications.

Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager:

"I am really looking forward to Melbourne this year; it will be an exciting weekend to see how far we have progressed over the past few months. It is never easy testing in the cold of winter and arriving at the end of Australia's summer so the results will be interesting."

"We completed our final tests in Valencia last week where we had both dry and naturally wet conditions which enabled us to firstly confirm our dry specifications for Melbourne and secondly confirm the wet tyre test results which we had gathered from an artificially wet track session at a previous Valencia test. So it was a very productive week and our long runs in particular were encouraging with just one week to go before the race. It will be an interesting race though."

"From previous years' experiences in Australia we can expect to see some front tyre graining from understeer so the teams will need to work hard on car set-up to overcome this. It is one of the keys to being competitive in Melbourne. However, the most interesting aspect of Melbourne this year of course will be discovering how our new tyres perform under the new regulations which state drivers can only use one set for both qualifying sessions and the race."

"We shall be keeping a close watch on the status of our tyres, noting lap times, monitoring tyre performances and drivers comments, and checking them closely as safety is our first priority. Because our tyres have to last for over 350kms, compound wise we will have tyres in the medium to hard range -- slightly harder then in previous years. I also don't expect teams to stop more than once or twice during the race this year because of these new regulations."

Melbourne Track Characteristics
Describing the characteristics of the 5.303km Albert Park circuit, Suganuma said: "Track temperatures will naturally be higher than experienced at European test tracks and the Albert Park circuit consists of several 90 degree turns and hard braking corners -- all of which mean traction forces will be a key factor."

"The track surface is relatively smooth and is now very similar to Barcelona's recently resurfaced track so our last test results from Spain were particularly helpful for finalising our tyre choices for this race."

-bridgestone-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Hiroshi Yasukawa
Teams Ferrari , Minardi , Jordan