The first three Formula One winter tests concluded this afternoon (Friday 15 December) at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit with Bridgestone Motorsport very satisfied with the way each of the ten* teams have adapted to the new 2007 tyres.
The winter test programme initially kicked off at the end of November at the Circuit de Catalunya, Spain, where the teams all ran the same hard compound dry tyre for three days. It was their first opportunity to get to grips with the new specification tyre which has specifically been chosen for its wide operating window.
Following this test, the teams moved to Jerez in southern Spain where they conducted two, three-day tests with a softer version of the dry tyre specification. Weather conditions during the first week at Jerez also meant the teams were able to get their first proper runs on the Bridgestone wet and extreme wet weather tyres.
Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager of Bridgestone Motorsport:
"Our initial impressions of the first three winter tests are very positive and I would like to thank the teams for their co-operation and hard work in their efforts to learn about the new Bridgestone Potenza tyres."
"These tyres use a new construction and new compounds so all the teams have had to start from the beginning. They have had to consider how to exploit the optimum operating window of the tyre by adjusting their car set-ups and looking at factors such as camber, toe, weight distribution and tyre pressures.
"Initially some teams experienced some rear tyre degradation but as the weeks progressed and as the Jerez circuit improved in grip levels over these past two weeks, we saw that the teams improved their car balance and they were able to set some good, consistent lap times."
"Of course, track and ambient temperatures are not that high during winter testing in Europe so our next step is to corroborate these results. Overall, we are very pleased that we have been able to provide a consistent tyre whose wide operating window has enabled all the teams to use it."
Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula 1, Team McLaren Mercedes:
"During the last three weeks of testing our biggest priority has been to evaluate the 2007 Bridgestone Potenza tyres, understanding them and adapting the MP4-21 chassis to best exploit them. Anything we can learn at this stage will give us important knowledge in the development direction of next year's MP4-22 ahead of its launch."
"In this time we have made a great deal of progress in adapting the car to the new tyres. Initial feedback suggests that the Bridgestone Potenza tyres play to our strengths in both aerodynamic and chassis departments. We feel we have made significant gains in finding grip and balance from the tyres, and also controlling the wear and degradation."
Sebastien Bourdais, three time Champ Car World Series champion and test driver this week in Jerez for the Scuderia Toro Rosso team:
"It has been four years since I last drove a Formula One car so I have enjoyed every minute this week! It has been a very positive test and I hope that I have been able to help the team at this early stage of their 2007 preparations."
"There is obviously quite a difference between the slick Bridgestone tyres which I use in the Champ Car World Series and the new style grooved Bridgestone F1 tyres which are narrower at the rear than Champ Car tyres."
"It is quite a challenge as the grooves offer less contact with the track surface and I have been used to more mechanical grip. But, it has been a very interesting experience and even though these tyres are for a single tyre championship, they have definitely progressed since I drove an F1 car in 2002.
"I certainly hope that I have helped the team make some productive changes to their car so that they could get the most out of the Bridgestones. At the beginning of this week's test the car was a little nervous on braking and on entering corners but with some adjustments we found the tyres to be very reliable and consistent."
*Note: The Spyker F1 team did not test but is expected to start its on track winter programme in January 2007.