Bridgestone makes Formula One tire debut

Barcelona, 11th January 2002 Bridgestone tyres make 2002 track debut Bridgestone Motorsport today completes the first five-day Formula 1 test session of 2002 at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya in Spain. Four of Bridgestone's five contracted...

Barcelona, 11th January 2002
Bridgestone tyres make 2002 track debut

Bridgestone Motorsport today completes the first five-day Formula 1 test session of 2002 at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya in Spain.

Four of Bridgestone's five contracted teams took part in the test this week in mixed weather conditions that saw normal wet, intermediate and dry tyres on the track.

Following the 2001 post-Suzuka test ban, the week-long test in Spain was the first opportunity Bridgestone's engineers had of analysing the early prototype tyres developed during November and December. The results of the test will be critical in further development of the specifications that will start the 2002 race season in Melbourne on March 3.

Bridgestone took more than 20 new specifications of dry-weather tyre to Barcelona, together with some new wet-weather specs.

Monday saw Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda shakedown their 2002 car on Bridgestone tyres.

On Tuesday, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro and Sauber Petronas joined the fray. Although the day started fine, rain soon meant that Bridgestone's prototype wet tyre was given an outing, followed by a prototype intermediate in the afternoon. Anthony Davidson was the quickest driver on Bridgestone tyres, ending the day fourth fastest for Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda.

The results from Tuesday were confirmed with more running in damp conditions on Wednesday, when Bridgestone's other teams were joined by Jordan Honda. Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro test driver Luca Badoer drove the fastest lap on Bridgestone tyres with a 1.21:764, just behind David Coulthard for West McLaren Mercedes.

Thursday started damp and Jordan Honda's Giancarlo Fisichella drove some promising laps on the prototype intermediate tyre. Takuma Sato, Jordan Honda 's new Japanese driver, followed up his 65 laps completed on Wednesday with 55 laps yesterday, concentrating on tyre testing in the afternoon.

Hisao Suganuma, Bridgestone's Technical Manager, said: "The damp and cold conditions we have experienced this week have been rather unusual. We would have preferred it to be dryer for longer so we could have done more dry spec testing, but at least we have been able to collect some useful data for our wet and intermediate tyres.

"So far, the results look promising. Our prototype intermediate is a clear improvement on last year's tyre, which is very encouraging, and the results from this week will be useful in pointing us in the right direction for future development."

Fine weather in Barcelona today has allowed more dry-tyre testing to take place.

Bridgestone Motorsport press conference
Circuit de Catalunya, Thursday January 10th, 2002

Giancarlo Fisichella, Jordan Honda:

Q: First of all, what's it like to be back at Jordan Honda?

My first year with Jordan was in 1997 and was one of my best seasons in Formula 1. It is nice because most of the people from '97 are still here. Today was an especially good day for me; I was very pleased about the behaviour of the car, about the engine and especially about the tyres.

Q: After two days running, what are your initial impressions of the Bridgestone tyres?

The problem has been the circuit conditions because it was wet yesterday and today it was dry for only the last two or three hours. Because we changed the engine I did just two runs, but the performance of the tyres looks very good, especially the consistency.

Q: Is it possible to make a comparison with how you remember the Bridgestone tyres from when you last drove on them in 2000? Is there a big difference?

It was different because in 2000 there was just Bridgestone and there was no fighting with a competitor. After 2001 as we know the compound was much better and the lap time was two or three seconds quicker so there is a lot of difference, but that's normal.

: What are your expectations for 2002?

I would like to win my first race in Formula 1. I know it is going to be difficult but that is my target. I would like to be competitive as well. I am quite confident because the new car looks good in the wind tunnel and the engine looks very good too, so I am confident.

Luca Badoer, test driver, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro:

Q: What are your first impressions of the 2002 Bridgestone tyres?

The first impression is difficult but in the few hours we were working on the programme I have found already some really good new things so if this is the start, I am very happy.

Q: You put in some good laps on the prototype intermediate tyre.

During the first two days we worked in the rain and on intermediate tyres. I was very surprised because they seemed a lot better than those we used towards the end of last season. They may be one of the tyres that really make the difference.

Q: You spent a lot of time tyre testing last year, was it a rewarding experience knowing you contributed to another world championship for Ferrari and Bridgestone?

Yes, but I didn't work just on tyre testing. It was a very busy year for me, I worked every week, some weeks every day. It really was a full year, for me and for the test team. The result came because the test team is also good and works very hard.

Q: You have a testing partner this year - have you given Luciano Burti any advice about the Ferrari?

Yes, we had the first two days here testing together but when you are working you do not have a lot of time to speak. He is already a Formula 1 driver so he understands the situation. Sure, he needs time to understand the team and the car but I think he is the right person for what we need.

Hisao Suganuma, technical manager, Bridgestone Motorsport:

Q: What can you tell us about the new tyres?

We had a two-month test ban after the last race of the season, so to prepare for the new season we needed to do a lot of testing of compounds, constructions and other issues in order to be more competitive than last year. Therefore, we brought a lot of tyres to this first test. Unfortunately, we have suffered a little bit with the weather so there is still a lot of work to do on the dry tyre programme. On the other hand, because of the wet conditions we have been able to try some wet and intermediate tyres. Last year we were pleased with our wet tyre performance but we have continued to work on it and have seen a big improvement here, especially in the intermediate tyres.

Q: Some drivers have managed to put in a lot of laps, have you learned anything about the consistency of the new tyres from that?

First we have to choose the test tyres, then decide the best one and then confirm the consistency of the performance. From that we can decide on the candidate for the race tyres, therefore the long runs are very important.

Q: The results from here will go forward towards the development of another prototype in February?

Yes, and from that we will decide the race tyres for the first round.

Q: Will tyre development be affected by the short time span between now and the first race?

Of course, if we had a longer test period it would be better, but we are in the same situation as our rivals and we have to live with it.


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About this article
Series Automotive , Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Takuma Sato , Luciano Burti , Luca Badoer , David Coulthard , Anthony Davidson
Teams Sauber