F1

Italian GP: Bridgestone race notes

Michael Schumacher announces retirement after winning Italian Grand Prix Seven time world champion Michael Schumacher has announced his retirement from racing at the end of the 2006 season after winning his fifth Italian Grand Prix in front of...

Michael Schumacher announces retirement after winning Italian Grand Prix

Seven time world champion Michael Schumacher has announced his retirement from racing at the end of the 2006 season after winning his fifth Italian Grand Prix in front of thousands of adoring fans. The momentous announcement signals the end of an era for a driver who today took the 102nd win on Bridgestone tyres."

"Following the retirement of Fernando Alonso from today's race, the result also signifies a considerable closing of the gap between the two title protagonists with Schumacher just two points behind in the drivers' standings with three races left to run. In the constructors' championship Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro has now moved ahead of Renault with just three points separating the teams."

Schumacher's teammate, Felipe Massa, had a luckless race, finishing in ninth place after needing to come in for an unscheduled third pit stop. Nevertheless, it has today been confirmed that Massa's contract with the team has been extended a further two years and that he will be joined at Ferrari by Kimi Raikkonen."

Aside from the post race announcements, today's 53-lap Italian Grand Prix produced plenty of excitement. Of the Bridgestone runners, Italian Jarno Trulli will be pleased to have claimed two points for his Panasonic Toyota Racing team after a tough one-stop race.

Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Bridgestone Motorsport:

"On behalf of us all at Bridgestone Motorsport I would like to extend our congratulations first of all to Michael on winning today's Italian Grand Prix. However, we will be extremely sorry not to see Michael racing again after the end of this season. Michael is certainly one of the greatest racing drivers in history and we all feel privileged to have worked with him throughout his career, from karting to Formula One. Our wish now is to see him end his career as world champion and we shall do all we can to help him achieve this goal."

Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager of Bridgestone Motorsport:

"There were a lot of mixed feelings after today's race. On the one hand we were delighted to see Michael win the Italian GP and we were pleased with the performance of the Bridgestone tyres but on the other hand we are all sorry to hear that Michael is retiring at the end of this season. We have had a very long relationship with him and he has played a large part in the development of and success of Bridgestone's tyres over the years, for which we thank him immensely."

"Looking at the race itself, which was very tough on the tyres due to the high track temperatures, we are pleased to see their strong and consistent performance. It was a shame that Felipe had to pit again in the closing stages as he could well have been on the podium. Jarno Trulli had a strong race and we are pleased he was able to do this on our tyres with a one-stop strategy. Mark Webber narrowly missed out on a points finish but he did cross the line in tenth from near the back of the grid."

Bridgestone Team News

Ross Brawn, Technical Director Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro:

"Winning the Italian Grand Prix on the day Michael announced his retirement was the best way it could have happened. He drove a great and untroubled race with Bridgestone tyres which had fantastically consistent performance. We had worked hard in the test prior to this weekend and we knew the tyres had better race performance than qualifying performance. Today however that was just what we needed. We shall now be looking to really concentrate on reclaiming the championship titles."

Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis Panasonic Toyota Racing:

"Given our grid positions today we had to do a one-stop strategy which of course was very demanding for the tyres. But the Bridgestones were fine, without any unexpected degradation or blistering and were fine even for the demands of a one-stop race."

-credit: bridgestone

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