F1 -- Bridgestone tyre evaluation programme -- second day Bridgestone sends evaluation data to F.I.A.

The FIA teams taking part in the joint FIA-Bridgestone tyre evaluation programme are now on their way back to Europe after the second day of the special post-season test at Suzuka. In collaboration with Bridgestone engineers assigned to the test, they have amassed the data which the FIA had requested in order to monitor the performance of the prototype conforming with the federation's revised technical regulations for the 1999, requiring an additional fourth groove in the front tyres.

David Coulthard (West McLaren Mercedes): "I have to admit that my first reaction to the decision to use four grooves in the front tyres was to feel a little disappointed. However, I can already see that Bridgestone has adapted the tyres to the 1999 regulations in a good way. The teams and I are leaving Suzuka feeling confident that the tyres will benefit from further development and that will suit the characteristics of our new car for next year."

Hirohide Hamashima, Technical Director of Bridgestone Motorsport: "We very much appreciate the willingness of the ten teams which remained at Suzuka after the Japanese Grand Prix to help us in this important FIA-Bridgestone tyre evaluation programme. As we have emphasised before, the first priority was to check that tyres conforming with the new rules would be safe. As far as performance is concerned, the reduction in speeds, amounting to the addition of something between two and three seconds to the lap times, was rather less than we had expected. However, it is clear that the temperatures here at Suzuka during the test, which have been significantly lower than they were during the weekend of the Grand Prix, have contributed to the new tyres producing more grip than they would have done only a few days earlier. It is our judgement that when testing resumes in December, lap times on the new tyres will approximate to those seen on slick tyres during the 1996 season."