Japanese GP: Bridgestone preview

Bridgestone gunning for home success Bridgestone Motorsport has been busy preparing for the penultimate round of the FIA Formula One World Championship - the Japanese Grand Prix with every intention of giving its home supporters a race ...

Bridgestone gunning for home success

Bridgestone Motorsport has been busy preparing for the penultimate round of the FIA Formula One World Championship - the Japanese Grand Prix with every intention of giving its home supporters a race to remember. Several of its engineers moved straight from China to Japan while others returned to Europe to conduct last minute testing with the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro and Jordan Ford teams in Jerez, Fiorano and Silverstone.

The championship titles have been decided but the Scuderia is battling to the end. Bridgestone runners Sauber Petronas, Jordan Ford and Minardi Cosworth are also still pushing hard as the season draws to a close. Sauber drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Felipe Massa in particular have much to gain.

Fisichella, who currently lies in tenth place in the overall standings, has just three and five points separating him from McLaren's David Coulthard and B.A.R's Takuma Sato respectively. Massa, meanwhile, is poised to overtake Williams' Ralf Schumacher in the standings with just one point between the pair. While Suzuka may not be the end of season finale this year, it has every potential to be just as exciting as in previous years.

Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Motorsport:

"The Bridgestone Motorsport team arrives at our home grand prix in Japan on the back of further success, achieved by Rubens Barrichello at the very first China Grand Prix. Sauber Petronas' drivers too achieved more points, which was extremely pleasing. The China GP provided Formula 1 with a magnificent track on which to race and great facilities and they should be congratulated on their success."

"However, we are now extremely excited to be moving on to our home round where over a thousand Bridgestone employees will get the chance to cheer on our teams at Suzuka. Many of the staff involved in our Formula 1 programme are based in Japan and this is their only chance to attend a GP and see Bridgestone's teams in action for themselves. We aim to give them a good show."

2004 Tyres for Suzuka

1,400 Bridgestone tyres will be sent over land from its F1 production plant on the outskirts of Tokyo. Comprising of five different dry weather specifications, one wet weather and one extreme weather specification, the tyres have been specifically tailored to the 5.807km Suzuka circuit.

Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager:

"Suzuka is renowned for being tough on tyres. It has an abrasive track surface, which means we need to bring tyres using compounds from our mid to hard range. Its layout is also challenging as the figure of eight track configuration means that both left and right side tyres are under stress. Combined with the rising and dipping undulations of the track, this means that the balance of the tyres and cars must be good and tyre degradation will be a key performance factor at this circuit."

"To be competitive in Suzuka efficient directional changes are important, at the S Curves for example, and other high speed corners such as Spoon Curve and 130R. From past experience we have learnt that tyre stability is essential for good lap times. From a more general point of view, we will be trying our utmost to give our home supporters a good result on race weekend. While this is one of 18 races and we are unable to test here beforehand, we do expect to be competitive on our home soil it is a circuit we know well."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Takuma Sato , Ralf Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Felipe Massa , Hiroshi Yasukawa
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Minardi , Jordan