CHAMPCAR/CART: Bridgestone 2002 CART, F1 review

Bridgestone performs impressively in 2002; takes two open-wheel championships in demanding competitions. NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Dec. 12, 2002) - After competing in 36 open-wheel racing events in 16 countries between March 3 and Nov. 17 this year,...

Bridgestone performs impressively in 2002; takes two open-wheel championships in demanding competitions.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Dec. 12, 2002) - After competing in 36 open-wheel racing events in 16 countries between March 3 and Nov. 17 this year, the Bridgestone Motorsport programs have reason to celebrate. Bridgestone Potenza racing radials provided all the performance qualities necessary for demanding action as drivers earned 2002 season championships on the internationally recognized tire brand.

Those drivers and their titles included Michael Schumacher, who won the Formula One World Driver's Championship with Team Scuderia Ferrari, and Cristiano da Matta of Newman/Haas Racing, who won the Championship Auto Racing Teams title.

Designing and supplying tires for F1 and Champ Car competition is a major challenge. Four different types of tracks are encountered - ovals, superspeedways, road courses and street circuits - each with their own distinctive type of surface, length, banking, corners and other factors that influence race tire design and production. The cars may appear similar to the casual viewer, but they are, in fact, very different - and not just different from series to series, but sometimes from event to event within a series as cars are reconfigured for specific tracks. Add to these temperature fluctuations over the four seasons and you understand the complexity of designing Bridgestone tires for competition.

Then there's the logistics issue. Having the proper tires at all the locations for race weekend and testing activities is a major undertaking in and of itself. In 2002, this involved the shipment of thousands of tires with no margin for error. In F1 and CART action, where competition continues in the rain, treaded tires were also supplied for wet-weather racing.

At each of the competitions and separate tire tests, Bridgestone Motorsport engineers were on site, providing invaluable assistance to all teams. There were also technicians and other professionals at every location, handling a range of responsibilities to make the events go smoothly.

"We are certainly proud of what the Bridgestone brand accomplished in 2002 competition," said Al Speyer, Executive Director of the Bridgestone Motorsport program for Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire, LLC. "Supplying tires and service to the F1 and CART racing series is a major undertaking, requiring a relentless dedication to perfection. As we look at another season now in the record books, it's obvious our people have the talent and enthusiasm you must have for this sport. In race after race, no matter how demanding the conditions, the Bridgestone tires offered their trademark grip, durability and consistency. We feel very honored to be involved with these two series and to know we are contributing to some of the safest, most competitive racing ever conducted."

Formula One Review:

The Oct. 13 season-ending race at Suzuka marked the 100th event for the Bridgestone Motorsport program since the Potenza tires joined F1 competition in 1997. The 2002 results included:

<pre> Date Track Pole Winner Race Winner March 3 Australia Rubens Barrichello Michael Schumacher March 17 Malaysia Michael Schumacher Ralf Schumacher (M) March 31 Brazil Juan Montoya (M) Michael Schumacher April 14 San Marino Michael Schumacher Michael Schumacher April 28 Barcelona Michael Schumacher Michael Schumacher May 12 Austria Rubens Barrichello Michael Schumacher May 26 Monaco Juan Montoya (M) David Coulthard (M) June 9 Canada Juan Montoya (M) Michael Schumacher June 23 Nurburgring Juan Montoya (M) Rubens Barrichello July 7 Silverstone Juan Montoya (M) Michael Schumacher July 21 France Juan Montoya (M) Michael Schumacher July 28 Hockenheim Michael Schumacher Michael Schumacher Aug. 18 Hungary Rubens Barrichello Rubens Barrichello Sept. 1 Belgium Michael Schumacher Michael Schumacher Sept. 15 Monza Juan Montoya (M) Rubens Barrichello Sept. 29 Indianapolis Michael Schumacher Rubens Barrichello Oct. 13 Japan Michael Schumacher Michael Schumacher (M)-denotes Michelin-equipped driver. </pre> By the end of the season, Bridgestone-equipped drivers had won 15 of 17 races - bringing Bridgestone's victory record to 70 grand prix events since the start of the 1997 season. In six seasons of competition, the Bridgestone Motorsport program has faced two other tire companies (Goodyear in 1997-98; Michelin in 2001-02).

Championship Auto Racing Teams Review

Newman/Haas Racing driver Cristiano da Matta clinched the CART championship Oct. 6 at Miami, with three races still yet to be run. That win gave the Bridgestone Motorsport program its first CART championship since the Potenza tires debuted as the Official Tire of CART this year. The 2002 results included: <pre> Date Track Pole Winner Race Winner March 10 Monterrey, Mex. Adrian Fernandez Cristiano da Matta April 14 Long Beach Jimmy Vasser Michael Andretti April 27 Japan Bruno Junqueira Bruno Junqueira June 2 Milwaukee Adrian Fernandez Paul Tracy June 9 Monterey, Calif. Cristiano da Matta Cristiano da Matta June 16 Portland Cristiano da Matta Cristiano da Matta June 30 Chicago Dario Franchitti Cristiano da Matta July 7 Toronto Cristiano da Matta Cristiano da Matta July 14 Cleveland Cristiano da Matta Patrick Carpentier July 28 Vancouver Cristiano da Matta Dario Franchitti Aug. 11 Mid-Ohio Patrick Carpentier Patrick Carpentier Aug. 18 Road America Bruno Junqueira Cristiano da Matta Aug. 25 Montreal Cristiano da Matta Dario Franchitti Sept. 1 Denver Bruno Junqueira Bruno Junqueira Sept. 14 England Kenny Brack Dario Franchitti Oct. 6 Miami Tony Kanaan Cristiano da Matta Oct. 27 Australia Cristiano da Matta Mario Dominguez Nov. 3 Fontana Tony Kanaan Jimmy Vasser Nov. 17 Mexico City Bruno Junqueira Kenny Brack </pre> The 19-race season saw nine different drivers reach victory lane, but it was da Matta who led the charge with seven race wins. The sensational Brazilian tied a CART record by winning four consecutive events at one stage.

At the Nov. 3 event in Fontana, it was announced Bridgestone would be the Presenting Sponsor for the CART Champ Car World Series in 2003.

"We're certainly excited about our new role as Presenting Sponsor for the Championship Auto Racing Teams series," Speyer said. "With its international flavor, the CART series is a great way for us to demonstrate the quality of Bridgestone tires to consumers around the world. Our engineers are already at work on the tires we'll use in next year's action, ensuring fans see a good show and drivers have the performance characteristics they need. We're confident 2003 will be another great year for the Bridgestone brand."

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About this article
Series Formula 1 , IndyCar
Drivers Ralf Schumacher , Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , David Coulthard , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Adrian Fernandez , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Kenny Brack , Mario Dominguez , Cristiano da Matta
Teams Ferrari