Bridgestone Motorsport completed a three day test yesterday at the Bahrain International Circuit. This test was the second of two at the track, the first having taken place on Thursday - Saturday last week.
Bridgestone's hard and medium compounds were available for the teams, the same compounds which will be brought to the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix on April 15. All teams bar AT&T Williams and Spyker F1 were in attendance.
The test was the final group test agreed by the Testing Committee before the Formula One season gets underway with the ING Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 18.
Q&A with Kees van de Grint, Bridgestone Motorsport Head of Track Engineering Operations
Q: What has been learnt in the Bahrain tests?
Kees van de Grint: We have seen more progress with the teams as they understand the latest specification tyres and the results have been largely as we expected. It was interesting to see that on the first days of the tests when the track was 'green' the softer tyre had a greater advantage over the harder tyre, but as the track was used more this difference diminished, which is in keeping with our predictions.
The tests were the hottest we have experienced so far and there were no mechanical problems with the tyres. The Malaysian test should be hotter still so that will be our next challenge.
Q: How much data has been provided to teams over the winter test period?
KvdG: We have answered all the questions the teams have asked and we can see the progress the teams have made in understanding the tyres and developing their cars to make the best use of them. If you answer one question you usually get another two in reply, but everyone we have spoken with has been satisfied with the responses and information provided.
Q: Do you expect good racing when the season starts in Melbourne?
KvdG: From the evidence seen at all the winter tests I think we will see very good racing in Australia. It will come down to the detail and the circumstances of the race, but looking at how close the times have been between the teams it is certain to be very exciting.