Bridgestone Motorsport, the Official Tyre Supplier to the FIA Formula One World Championship, has completed its final major team test before the 2008 Formula One season gets underway, at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona on February ...
Bridgestone Motorsport, the Official Tyre Supplier to the FIA Formula One World Championship, has completed its final major team test before the 2008 Formula One season gets underway, at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona on February 25-27.
Teams were provided with the hard compound Bridgestone Potenza Formula One tyre for the test and this tyre was used extensively on the second and final day. The first day of the test, however, saw rain and a wet track, meaning that Bridgestone's wet and extreme wet tyres were used.
Tyre performance was good with no major issues reported. This is the second consecutive season that teams have used these Bridgestone Potenza tyres, as the latest specification has only had minor developments made in the interests of safety over those used last year. This means that teams have accumulated a lot of data and developments to their latest chassis have continued throughout testing in January and February in order to harness the potential of these tyres.
This was the final major test before Bridgestone Motorsport and the teams head to Melbourne for the ING Australian Grand Prix, which takes place on March 14-16. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton topped the timing monitors at the end of the first two days, whilst Panasonic Toyota Racing's Jarno Trulli was the fastest on the final day, and of the test overall, with a time of 1min 20.801secs.
At the Australian Grand Prix, the medium and soft compound Bridgestone Potenza tyres will be used, the same specifications as used there last season. Formula One then heads straight to Kuala Lumpur for the Malaysian Grand Prix. The next major test will not take place until April 14-17, once again at Barcelona. At this test, in addition to testing this season's tyres, experimental slick tyres for the 2009 regulations will be evaluated.
Q&A with Tetsuro Kobayashi - Technical Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport:
Q: This was the final major test before the 2008 season starts, are Bridgestone confident?
TK: "Yes, Bridgestone are confident heading to Melbourne. Our tyres have only been slightly modified from those we used in 2007 so teams and drivers have good knowledge of how best to use them. We have seen the new and modified chassis from the teams testing at a number of circuits this year and there have been no major tyre related issues.
Q: What are the changes to the tyres for 2008?
TK: "The changes are very minor evolutions to the tyre construction and relate to safety. In terms of car setup and driver feel, there is no difference from last year's tyres so all the data accumulated last season is of use. We have modified the super soft compound, but this will not be seen in use until later in the year. The other compounds, the hard, medium and soft, are the same as last year. We will soon announce our tyre compound allocations for each race for the first half of the season, and teams have already been informed of these decisions. Of course, we are looking to a possible bigger change for next season, and that is why we will be evaluating our latest slick development tyre when we next test in April."