Bridgestone relishing Monaco challenge Bridgestone Motorsport heads for one of the most glamorous races on the F1 calendar this week after another week of intensive testing with its teams. The Monaco Grand Prix presents Bridgestone and its five...
Bridgestone relishing Monaco challenge
Bridgestone Motorsport heads for one of the most glamorous races on the F1 calendar this week after another week of intensive testing with its teams. The Monaco Grand Prix presents Bridgestone and its five teams - Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, Sauber Petronas, Jordan Ford, Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda and European Minardi Cosworth - with a unique challenge in terms of tyre selection: how to go softer without compromising durability.
In addition to looking ahead to the Canadian Grand Prix, teams have been busy recently assessing specifications for this smooth, low grip street circuit and with the choices now made for each team, all that remains is to see how they perform. With Ferrari now lying at the head of the Constructors' points standings and Jordan Ford and B.A.R Honda both snapping at the heels of the front runners, Monaco offers a good points scoring opportunity for the Bridgestone runners.
Two of Bridgestone's teams B.A.R Honda and Sauber Petronas also undertook a day of "artificial" wet weather tyre testing at the Spanish circuit of Valencia last Friday. Initial results were encouraging and several good tyre candidates have been selected for further evaluation in more natural conditions.
Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Motorsport:
"Despite all the excitement of Austria where Michael [Schumacher] and Rubens [Barrichello] finished first and third under somewhat unusual circumstances, I think it is clear that Bridgestone provided the right tyres for the job. Jenson Button's fourth was also very encouraging and I think we are beginning to see the potential of the B.A.R Hondas. I'm looking forward to seeing them in action in Monaco. Being a street circuit, it has very different demands on drivers, cars and tyres. We had a strong race there in 2002 and I fully expect to be strong again this year."
2003 Tyres for Monaco The 3.34km street circuit presents tyre manufacturers with one of the toughest challenges of the season. The qualities of the low grip, normal road surface mean that tyres for Monaco will be the softest seen this year. Choosing tyres, however, is perhaps the greatest challenge.
Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager:
"Monaco is one of the most difficult circuits to test and select tyres for. The fact is that we need such a soft compound for Monaco that all the circuits we test on are far too abrasive. A Monaco tyre would not last a lap on a normal purpose built F1 circuit. After two or three corners, there would be significant graining and understeer. This means that the tyre selection process for Monaco is quite unique and we have to cooperate with the teams far more closely."
"We can't rely on lap times, wear durability or the other normal assessment procedures. We rely more heavily on car data and sector times. Using the latest family of compounds, this year's tyres are an evolution of those used in 2002. Even with the resurfacing work on the track we believe the circuit will still be very low in grip. Last year's tyre was an excellent race tyre but we are also confident that the developments we have made recently have produced a good qualifying tyre too. It's going to be a fascinating weekend!"