RAIN OR SHINE, BRIDGESTONE F1 EFFORT READY FOR BRAZIL By Bridgestone/Firestone Media Relations NASHVILLE, TN. - (3/27/97) - When Damon Hill won last year's Brazilian Grand Prix, his toughest competitor may well have been the rain.
RAIN OR SHINE, BRIDGESTONE F1 EFFORT READY FOR BRAZIL
By Bridgestone/Firestone Media Relations
NASHVILLE, TN. - (3/27/97) - When Damon Hill won last year's Brazilian Grand Prix, his toughest competitor may well have been the rain. For most of the 190.807 miles, it poured, creating the toughest driving conditions imaginable for a Formula One driver.
If it rains Sunday, Hill and nine other drivers equipped with Bridgestone Potenza rain tires may well have an advantage in the Grande Premio Do Brasil at Interlagos. Competing in its first season of F1 racing, Bridgestone has invested much time in developing rain tires for the series. In wet weather testing, F1 drivers running on Bridgestone Potenzas have reported strong grip.
"I was impressed with the performance of my Bridgestone tires in the wet," Oliver Panis said. "That's a significant advantage since rain can never be ruled out in Brazil."
In dry testing at Silverstone, Great Britain, over the last two weeks, Panis achieved the fastest time among 12 drivers. During the F1 season opener at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne March 9, Panis finished fifth, leading the Bridgestone-equipped contingent.
The Interlagos Circuit is the home track for two of the Bridgestone-equipped drivers -- Rubens Barrichello with Stewart Grand Prix and Pedro-Paulo Diniz with Arrows Grand Prix International.
The complete rostrum of F1 drivers set to compete on Bridgestone Potenzas in this Sunday's Grand Prix:
Damon Hill - Arrows Grand Prix International Pedro-Paulo Diniz - Arrows Grand Prix International Oliver Panis - Prost Grand Prix Shinji Nakano - Prost Grand Prix Ukyo Katayama - Minardi Team Jarno Trulli - Minardi Team Jan Magnussen - Stewart Grand Prix Rubens Barrichello - Stewart Grand Prix Vincenzo Sospiri - Lola Formula One Ricardo Rosset - Lola Formula One
Bridgestone announced February 18, 1996, it would enter Formula One racing. The plan originally was to test through 1997 and enter its first race in 1998. Testing went so well, however, that Bridgestone moved its program forward a full year and entered its first race in 1997.
During its 1996 testing, Bridgestone drivers, including Jos Verstappen, Aguri Suzuki and others, tested at Formula One venues in Japan, the U.K., Spain, France, and Italy. Tom Walkinshaw Racing was the first team signed to race on Bridgestone tires in F1 competition, with Damon Hill the first driver.
In addition to its Formula One program, Bridgestone supplies the open-wheel Formula 3000 series in Japan and the STM/ITC touring championship in Europe.
Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc., headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bridgestone Corporation, and supplies Firestone Firehawk racing radial tires to cars in both the Indy Racing League and the Championship Auto Racing Teams series.