British GP: Bridgestone preview

New tyres for unpredictable Silverstone The British Grand Prix, the next round in the Formula 1 world championship, represents a short break from travelling for Bridgestone Motorsport since it is one of the division's two 'home' races. Although...

New tyres for unpredictable Silverstone

The British Grand Prix, the next round in the Formula 1 world championship, represents a short break from travelling for Bridgestone Motorsport since it is one of the division's two 'home' races. Although the company's headquarters are in Japan, as are the Formula 1 tyre research and development departments and factory, most of the Bridgestone staff who attend grands prix are based in the UK.

Approximately 50 people will be at Silverstone, including engineers, tyre technicians and fitters, support staff, press and marketing personnel and senior managers. As usual, the 1,600 tyres for the British Grand Prix were flown into Heathrow Airport from Tokyo and are being taken by road to Silverstone. The Northamptonshire track hosted the first round of the official Formula 1 world championship in 1950 and is very well known to Bridgestone and its teams as a testing venue. It is a challenging track for drivers, cars and tyre manufacturers but improvements to the road network around the circuit should make visiting Silverstone less of challenge for a reduced race-day crowd this weekend.

Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Motorsport:

"Nurburgring was a magnificent result for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, a tremendous team effort. The fact that Jean Todt and Rubens came to thank all our staff after the race demonstrated, I believe, how much they felt Bridgestone contributed to their performance. Ferrari's pace was stunning in the race but all our teams were able to benefit from the clear tyre advantage we had at Nürburgring. None of our teams had to waste time scrubbing their tyres, giving them an advantage in set-up terms over our competitor's cars, and the tyres performed consistently throughout the race. However, there is room for improvement in our qualifying performance and we are addressing that now."

The Tyres

Bridgestone is taking two brand new specifications of dry weather tyre to Silverstone while the unique requirements of Qualifying have been taken into account in the choice of three wet weather tyres. The forecast for this weekend so far is for "changeable" weather so Bridgestone has a tyre for all conditions.

Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager of Bridgestone Motorsport:

"Apart from the result which saw three of our cars in the points and a further three in the top ten, I was pleased with our overall performance at Nurburgring because our teams used both tyres and adopted one and two-stop strategies. Silverstone is a very different track. There is an element of compromise in developing tyres for there - if you concentrate too much on finding stability in cornering and under braking, you may lose out on grip through the slower sections. Our two specifications are quite similar, hence we are calling them option and primary. One is better for stability and consistency, while the other focuses more on grip. I expect the temperature will play a part in our teams' choice since one spec may prove quicker in warmer conditions, the other in cooler weather."

The Track

Silverstone's high-speed sections like Becketts, the Hangar Straight into Stowe corner and the start-finish straight into Copse corner require good stability under braking and in cornering, strong traction and plenty of power. In contrast, the slower stadium section demands high grip levels.

Hisao Suganuma added: "Silverstone has several fast corners and these are the key to getting a good lap time - stability from the tyres through them is very important. However, the complex in the last sector of the lap demands good grip through its slow corners which comes mainly from the tyres. The abrasive surface means the tyres must have a good wear rate and heat durability to keep degradation down."

-bridgestone-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jean Todt , Hiroshi Yasukawa
Teams Ferrari