Bridgestone aims to crack toughest nut of the year at season finale
The 2006 FIA Formula One World Championship wraps up this weekend at the Interlagos circuit, Sao Paulo (Brazil) and after seventeen thrilling races the championship title battles will finally be won or lost.
Bridgestone shod Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro and Michael Schumacher have taken the title fights right down to the wire with Ferrari currently lying nine points behind Renault in the constructors' championship while Schumacher needs to win this weekend and for his rival, Alonso, to finish out of the points.
Also fighting to finish the season on a high will be Panasonic Toyota Racing, who are looking to claim fifth place in the constructors' championship, and the WilliamsF1, Spyker MF1 and Super Aguri F1 teams. After returning from Japan two weeks ago, the teams spent valuable days testing car components and Bridgestone tyre specifications ahead of this season's grand finale.
Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Motorsport:
"Not only is this the last race of the season, and an important one for the various championships, but it is also the last race for the foreseeable future competing against another tyre manufacturer in F1. We are therefore extremely motivated to see our teams get good results this weekend. For Michael Schumacher in particular this will be a very poignant weekend."
"The atmosphere at the Brazilian Grand Prix is always electric and the support from the spectators makes this a great venue to finish what has been a fantastically exciting year. After all the hard work of this long season it just remains now for us to wish the Bridgestone shod teams and drivers the very best of luck for this weekend."
Tyres for Interlagos - 4.309km
The 2006 tyre regulations permit each driver seven sets of dry weather tyres, four sets of wet weather tyres and three sets of extreme wet weather tyres. Approximately 1,200 Bridgestone Potenza Formula One tyres have been sent by air freight directly from the Technical Centre in Kodaira City, Tokyo, to the Interlagos Circuit, Sao Paulo.
Hisao Suganuma, Bridgestone Motorsport Technical Manager:
"We conducted some important tests last week with the teams at Jerez and Silverstone where the tyre specifications were finalized. After assessing the lap times we are expecting to be competitive in Brazil this weekend."
"Due to the track's surface and layout characteristics we have decided to bring race-proven tyres from our current range of both dry and wet weather tyres. The track surface is quite rough but the wear tends not to be too high so we can use the softer end of the compound scale. We will need to watch the degradation rates on the rear tyres but it is a medium speed circuit and we are confident in our choices.
"One key factor in Brazil is the weather. It is currently spring time and as well as an increased risk of rain, the temperatures can vary quite a lot so we have taken into account the need for tyres with a wider working temperature range. It will be a tough weekend and an extremely important one for our teams but we are looking forward to it."