HIROHIDE HAMASHIMA - HEAD OF TYRE DEVELOPMENT In recent races, there appears to have been a marked change in the performance of Bridgestone's tyres. Is this true, and if so why has it happened? <B>No, it is not true, it is simply that...
HIROHIDE HAMASHIMA - HEAD OF TYRE DEVELOPMENT
In recent races, there appears to have been a marked change in the performance of Bridgestone's tyres. Is this true, and if so why has it happened?
<B>No, it is not true, it is simply that the package - our tyres and the teams we are working with - has been working well in recent races. Our tyres are only part of the equation and simply support the improvements the teams have been making.
Has it been a normal part of development?
<B>It is normal development, but the competition situation has probably accelerated it. Our competitors' packages, especially BMW-Williams, have also been performing well so we have responded to that. However, we are working at our own pace, there is no point in rushing things.
Have you been concentrating on particular aspects of the tyres' performance - grip level, durability, degradation?
<B>Yes. About 20 years ago in other series, our racing tyre performance lacked in those areas. The tyres were good for pole positions but did not bring enough wins and the reason was their lack of durability. Our development philosophy now is to minimise the difference in tyre performance from the start of a race to the end. The emphasis on grip and durability means we have done a lot of compound work, but we are also working on construction development.
<B>At Magny-Cours and Silverstone, you took tyres that had not been tested. Although cars on Bridgestone tyres won both races, is there any risk in racing on un-tested tyres?
<B>"Tyres that had not been tested" is not altogether correct. The specifications that we took to those races were not themselves tested. However, we have a lot of element data for designing tyre specification and each element, or the 'family' from which it comes, had been tested somewhere already. With the use of existing data and the results of simulation tests, we can minimise any risk to the extent that we feel confident enough to offer those tyres at a race. Of course, if we used pure un-tested tyres in a race, the risk would be high.
Will the development continue for the rest of the season? What specific areas will you be working on?
<B>Yes, it will. Both tread compound and construction are important areas we will be working on. With competition, it is vital that the development work never stops. The rest of this year will also provide us with valuble data for next season and our next generation of tyres.
When will you start working on tyres for 2002?
<B>So far, we have concentrated our attention on specifications for the rest of this season. We will start working on 2002 very soon, although that work has already started with the data we are collecting this year.