Throughout the season, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro technical director Ross Brawn has stressed the importance of Bridgestone's contribution to the team's success. So, at a Bridgestone press conference held yesterday at the Hockenheimring, the ...
Throughout the season, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro technical director Ross Brawn has stressed the importance of Bridgestone's contribution to the team's success. So, at a Bridgestone press conference held yesterday at the Hockenheimring, the Englishman took the time to explain the relationship in more detail.
"At the time we were running Goodyear tyres and fighting against Bridgestone runners, we saw how hard it was to beat them and were impressed with their work," he began. "We realised also how important it is to have a strong relationship with a tyre manufacturer. So when Michelin came in with some top teams we saw the need to make our relationship even closer and stronger with Bridgestone."
The two companies then established a plan to achieve that goal. "We decided to dedicate more engineers to work closely with Bridgestone," continued Brawn. "Their engineers needed to understand more about the car and we needed to understand more about the tyres. Most of this work is connected with the construction of the tyre, rather than the compounds, which is more of a job for the chemists than for engineers."
Being the only real top team using the Japanese tyres is also an advantage according to Brawn. "Even if Bridgestone might not share the view, I personally was delighted when McLaren switched to Michelin. It made our relationship more straightforward. Ferrari people now spend more time in Japan and at the moment there is a group of Bridgestone engineers working in Maranello. We also carry out a joint review of our testing and races."
The closer relationship has involved a lot more work for both parties. "In the test team, we now have one car and one driver -- either Burti or Badoer -- working full time on tyres, rather than fitting tyre work in around the rest of the programme," continued Brawn. "I would say we now do three full days of tyre testing in between each grand prix. Essentially, we are trying to develop the car and tyre together, rather than separately."
While the Bridgestone-Ferrari relationship has been very successful so far this season, Brawn admitted that the companies were trying to address their qualifying performance in light of Montoya taking six poles this season. "Not being on pole in Magny-Cours did not help us," admitted Brawn. "We had the faster car at the start, but were not able to exploit it. Also, we lost Monaco because we were not on pole. The difficulty is in improving qualifying performance without losing performance in the race, but we are working on it."
With F1 moving at such a pace, Brawn already faced questions about the end of the season. On the subject of whether Ferrari might run a hybrid car, as it did in last year's Japanese GP, Ross said it was not possible. "Next year's engine is very different and we cannot run it in this chassis. It's transmission will only fit next year's car. All I can tell you about the new engine is that it is not a V12!"