Australian GP Friday Bridgestone Report

March/ 05/ 1999 1999 AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX - FRIDAY Hiroshi Yasukawa (Director of Bridgestone Motorsport) answers some recent questions about the company's actual situation in 1999. 1) What have been the consequences of the monopoly in...

March/ 05/ 1999

1999 AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX - FRIDAY

Hiroshi Yasukawa (Director of Bridgestone Motorsport) answers some recent questions about the company's actual situation in 1999.

1) What have been the consequences of the monopoly in Formula One as far as your company is concerned? Do you anticipate any lack of interest from the media now that there is no competition?

A: There is an automatic tendency for people to view any monopoly in a negative way. We are taking a positive attitude. We are happy with our policy of increasing the awareness of the Bridgestone brand, and we hope that the press will continue to be part of this process. At the same time, we have to be prepared for the arrival of a competitor at some time in the future. 2) If it rains here in Melbourne on race day, which teams do you expect to have an advantage?

A: Although all of this year's teams have extensively tested our '99-spec dry tyres, some of them have not had an opportunity to try the latest wets during the European winter. This means that the six teams which raced our tyres last year may have a slight advantage over some of the others as far as wet running is concerned.

3) Why has Bridgestone brought only two specs of rain tyre for this race?

A: The simple reason is that we believe two specs will be enough at every race this year. Without competition, there is less pressure to have equipment which suits all circumstances.

4) What are the changes in wet conditions which will decide the choice of wet tyre?

A: The two Bridgestone specifications of wet tyre are manufactured in an identical pattern and the hard compound will have an advantage as soon as the track becomes noticeably damp going to wet conditions. While the soft compound will be suitable for wet tracks and conditions of heavy rain.

5) Would Bridgestone consider pulling out of Formula One if the monopoly situation fails to bring satisfactory promotional and technical feed back this year?

A: From the promotional side, Bridgestone is firmly committed to supporting several categories of international motorsport. This policy is unlikely to change. As far as the technical benefits are concerned, we continue to benefit from our involvement with Formula One. This benefit is even greater now that we are working with an additional five teams.

6) Regarding the specification of any new tyre which may be introduced during the season, which team's data will you use in making the final decision?

A: Ideally, we intend to continue with the same four tyre specifications throughout the season. The biggest unknown factor is hot conditions, which we have not yet seen to a significant extent in pre-season testing. It may be necessary to introduce one additional compound to cope with very hot conditions, but otherwise we will not make any changes. For this reason, the constructions we will use this year will remain unchanged. If we happen to run into unexpected difficulties, say with degradation of a particular compound, in that case the performance change that comes with any new compound can be expected to affect all teams equally.

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Hiroshi Yasukawa