New tyres for Interlagos After the heat of Malaysia, Bridgestone Motorsport heads to Brazil with the aim of helping its teams improve on their results at Sepang. Despite Michael Schumacher's third place for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro -...
New tyres for Interlagos
After the heat of Malaysia, Bridgestone Motorsport heads to Brazil with the aim of helping its teams improve on their results at Sepang. Despite Michael Schumacher's third place for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro - which helped him maintain his lead in the championship - and two well-deserved top six places for Sauber Petronas, Bridgestone is determined to do better this weekend. Four of the tyre supplier's teams were in action at the major test in Barcelona immediately after Malaysia; all tested the new specifications for Brazil and contributed to development work for future races.
Brazil is an important race for Bridgestone since the company has a tyre factory close by and Bridgestone/Firestone Brazil will invite hundreds of guests to the Interlagos track during the weekend.
Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Motorsport:
"While we were pleased that two of our teams collected points in Malaysia, the result was not as good as we hoped for or expected so we go to Brazil determined to do better. Last year, drivers on Bridgestone tyres took over the podium and a repeat of that has to be our aim this weekend."
The 2002 Tyres
Two new dry-weather specifications are among the 1,500 tyres Bridgestone is taking to the Brazilian Grand Prix. Like Brazil, Barcelona is a tough track on tyres and provided a useful proving ground last week for the new specifications.
Hisao Suganuma, technical manager of Bridgestone Motorsport:
"Brazil is a track that requires superior traction and braking performance, in particular the braking at the entry of the first corner. On top of that, the tyres have to be capable of running in hotter temperatures. With all this mind, we focused on these issues to improve our tyre performance with the new specifications for Brazil."
After the punishing temperatures of Malaysia, the Formula 1 drivers move on to neck-straining Interlagos, an anti-clockwise track with more left hand corners than they are used to and a topography of rising and plunging fast corners. With an almost 90 degree first corner which runs downhill to the high-speed section of the track, followed by a technically challenging middle sector, stability under braking is is crucial.
Heat durability is also an issue - unlike Sepang, drivers are able to carry a lot of speed through the corners at Interlagos which puts a greater load on the tyres, thereby generating more heat. Finding a tyre with low degradation, that is consistent and offers good grip on a track that is uneven and dusty is the aim.
Hisao Suganuma added: "Interlagos is very up-and-down as well as having a fast `outer' section that banks into the start-finish straight. In this section, the tyres are loaded quite heavily. Last year the weather was changeable so we have to be prepared for that and ensure that we are competitive in all conditions. In terms of strategy, we will be working out whether two stops or one stop is the most suitable option for our tyres."
The race got off to an eventful start when Mika Hakkinen's West McLaren Mercedes failed to move off the grid and local hero Rubens Barrichello collided with Ralf Schumacher on lap 3. David Coulthard won the race - his 10th grand prix victory - after changing to Bridgestone's intermediate tyres when the rain came. Nick Heidfeld stepped on the podium for the first time, giving his team, Sauber Petronas, their first podium place since 1998. The race saw Bridgestone teams use one and two stop strategies.