Austrian GP: Bridgestone preview

Bridgestone unveils new compounds at season turning point After a tough start to the season, the race score is now 3-2 in Bridgestone's favour. Never complacent, however, Bridgestone Motorsport moves on to round six of the FIA Formula One World...

Bridgestone unveils new compounds at season turning point

After a tough start to the season, the race score is now 3-2 in Bridgestone's favour. Never complacent, however, Bridgestone Motorsport moves on to round six of the FIA Formula One World Championship, to be held at the Austrian A1 Ring in Spielberg, with every intention of maintaining that lead.

The past week has seen Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda and Sauber Petronas all undertake several days of testing in Italy and France whilst Jordan Ford completed a single day of private testing at Silverstone, UK on Thursday. Bridgestone's tyre programmes were aimed not just at finalising the specifications for Austria, the results of which will see several new compounds making their race debut in Austria, but also at narrowing down the choices for round seven in Monaco.

Furthermore, following a recent communication from the FIA inviting teams to have available an extreme-weather tyre capable of functioning safely even in wholly exceptional weather conditions, Bridgestone Motorsport will be supplying each of its five teams with "extreme-weather" tyres for the remainder of the season. This will take effect as of the forthcoming Austrian Grand Prix.

Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Motorsport:

"We had a very successful outing at Barcelona which resulted in Michael (Schumacher) and Rubens (Barrichello) taking a fantastic win and third place on our tyres. Their achievement was witnessed in person by Bridgestone's President and C.E.O Mr Shigeo Watanabe and he was delighted with the result."

"However, there is still much work to do and not just to maximise the potential of our tyres for Ferrari's new F2003-GA. Bridgestone's other four teams are a vital part of our F1 operation and we would dearly like to see them up there challenging for points next weekend."

Tyres for Barcelona
In addition to the 1,100 tyres normally taken by Bridgestone to race weekends, Bridgestone will be supplying its teams with extreme-weather tyres. The Austrian A1ring has very different requirements for dry weather tyres compared to the last round at Barcelona. The track's undulating nature and smooth surface mean that Bridgestone will be taking eight specifications of tyres from their soft to medium range in order to provide its runners with sufficient grip. The circuit is also one that tends to produce front tyre graining and understeer on the cars.

Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager:

"Although very much a stop-go circuit because of the number of tight corners, the A1ring also means higher average speeds so we will be chasing not only good grip but also good heat durability. Understeer can be an issue in Austria and teams will need to take care choosing the best tyre and car set-up combination. We have had some very productive tests recently and in order to provide the grip needed for Austria we will consequently be taking several new compounds."

"These are from the current compound family but have not yet been used for a race in 2003. Our teams have also been invited by the FIA to have an extreme-weather tyre available. Bridgestone welcomes such a move, albeit a temporary solution for this year, and to assist our teams comply with the wishes of the FIA, we shall be providing them with such a tyre. The FIA has provided us with guidelines for these tyres and it is understood that they will not be used unless the race director has specifically informed all teams via the timing monitors that the weather conditions necessitate their use."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Hiroshi Yasukawa
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , Jordan