Bridgestone welcomes Jean Todt & Scuderia Ferrari drivers to headquarters in Tokyo Bridgestone Corporation President, C.E.O and Chairman of the Board, Shigeo Watanabe, welcomed Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro special guests Jean Todt, Michael...
Bridgestone welcomes Jean Todt & Scuderia Ferrari drivers to headquarters in Tokyo
Bridgestone Corporation President, C.E.O and Chairman of the Board, Shigeo Watanabe, welcomed Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro special guests Jean Todt, Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello to Bridgestone's worldwide headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, this afternoon for a "Meet and Greet" event for Bridgestone employees.
Also present to meet Ferrari's Managing Director and drivers were Bridgestone Senior Vice President, Shoshi Arakawa; Vice President & Senior Officer responsible for Technology, Akira Inoue; Vice President & Senior Officer responsible for Corporate Administration, Tomoyuki Izumisawa; Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development, Hirohide Hamashima and Director of Bridgestone Motorsport, Hiroshi Yasukawa.
After first meeting Mr Watanabe in his private offices, the President invited Mr Todt and the drivers to join him in a Question and Answer session which took place in front of an excited crowd of Bridgestone headquarters employees.
During the Q&A session, Jean Todt, Ferrari's Managing Director thanked Bridgestone and the enthusiastic employees for their support commenting that: "Bridgestone is one of the team's most important technical partners in Formula One. We have enjoyed great successes because we have had the best package, the best car and the best tyres."
"On behalf of Ferrari I would like to thank Bridgestone for all the effort they put into F1. This year has been a tough year but we are sure that together we can return to success in the future."
For Rubens Barrichello the visit was a significant one. Since Bridgestone entered Formula One in 1997, the Brazilian star is the only driver to have raced for the past nine years on Bridgestone tyres. Rubens leaves the Ferrari team at the end of this year and took today's visit to Bridgestone's headquarters as a welcome opportunity to thank the employees for their support and hard work.
"This is an emotional moment for me. I am the driver who has raced for the longest time on Bridgestone's tyres in F1 and we have had some fantastic times. There has been a lot of hard work together but that has produced some good times. All of my victories have been on Bridgestone tyres and I shall miss what we have done together over the past nine years."
"This will be my last Japanese Grand Prix with Bridgestone and Ferrari. I have always had your support and I must thank you and Ferrari for all the races and Championship titles we have won together."
In honour of his contribution to Bridgestone's successes in Formula One, Mr Watanabe presented Rubens with a commemorative silver plate engraved with a message of thanks from Bridgestone. Clearly moved, Rubens thanked Mr Watanabe, saying that it would be one of his best trophies.
To the delight of the Bridgestone employees, seven time World Champion Michael Schumacher also told the eager audience of his desire to return to the top level of the podium in the future with Bridgestone's support.
Whether or not that moment happens at this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix or after intensive testing this winter remains to be seen but Michael Schumacher's passion for the sport and the thanks he gave to Bridgestone for its role in five of his seven Drivers' Championship titles, received loud applause from the listening audience.
"It is fantastic to have this crowd behind us and we shall be trying our best to be successful for you. We have had many years of success and although we have had a difficult time this year it is during these moments that you show what you can do."
"Can we fight or not? Are we motivated or not? With a lot of effort together and with your support I look forward to winning many more races in the future. There is a saying: `When the going gets tough, the tough get going'."