Working together with the Safety Commission, where the riders, FIM, IRTA and Dorna are represented it has been decided to propose a change of the allocation of the tyres to the GP Commission. As such, Bridgestone has proposed a revision to its tyre allocation procedure and selected tyre compounds for the remaining races of the 2011 season, effective from the Czech Republic Grand Prix.
These latest host of changes come in response to rider feedback and succeed steps taken by Bridgestone in the last 18 months such as the development and early introduction of the extra soft compound in 2010, and the selection of softer tyre compounds for the Catalunya, British, Dutch, Italian and German Grands Prix so far this year.
For the United States Grand Prix at Laguna Seca next weekend, softer rear slicks incorporating Bridgestone’s extra soft compound rubber have been selected in a continued bid to improve warm-up performance, especially as the morning sessions can be cool.
Then from the Czech Republic Grand Prix onwards more significant changes will come into effect as Bridgestone will provide every rider with an increased number of front slick tyres, three front slick tyre compound options, and revise rear slick tyre allocation to enable riders to select a greater number of the compound option they prefer.
The previous regulations permitted two compound options of front and rear slicks and eight front and ten rear slick tyres per rider per weekend. Now, from Brno onwards, Bridgestone will prepare three compound options of front slick tyre per race and provide each rider with nine front tyres each weekend. Ten rear slick tyres will still be available in two compound options per weekend, but riders can now choose more of the tyre option they prefer, up to a maximum of six of one compound option and four of the other.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“We have worked hard with the FIM, Dorna and the riders to make this proposal and the necessary regulation amendments and we make these significant changes to our tyre compound allocation procedure as part of our ongoing efforts to focus more on improving warm-up performance. When rider comments about warm-up performance started last year, we developed the extra soft compound rubber for the rear tyres to improve the situation. Then at the start of this year we already selected softer compound options for five of the first nine races, again to provide tyres that warm-up more quickly. Then during the Italian Grand Prix we decided to bring softer spec rears to a further six of the remaining nine races, and with this latest change to our tyre approach we very much hope to arrive at a situation where the riders feel satisfied with the extra tyre choices they have each weekend and more comfortable with additional softer tyres in the cooler morning sessions. The introduction of FP1 on Friday morning this year changed the situation for us because conditions are never ideal on Friday morning and this is when we have seen most of the crashes. Nevertheless, we take rider safety very seriously and of course we are sorry to have seen the crashes that we have this year and want to avoid such unnecessary occurrences. I hope this fundamental change to the Official Tyre Supplier situation demonstrates that we listen to riders and have long been working towards such a compromise to make them feel safer and more comfortable and confident in the warm-up performance of our tyres.”
Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division
“We have spent a great deal of time speaking personally with riders, especially in recent months, and the raft of changes that we have proposed are in direct response to their feedback and comments, specifically relating to the warm-up performance of our tyres in the cooler morning sessions. It is important to note that all riders are very complimentary about the race-distance performance of our tyres, and that a number of lap records have been set in the last year on them, including today here in Germany, which indicate that outright performance is very good. However, we realise the need to focus more on the area of warm-up performance, and whilst we continue our development of a new family of tyres for next year which feature a softer construction, these changes that come into effect from Brno are our best effort at reacting as quickly as we can, and in a way satisfactory to all parties, mid-way through the season. The riders have agreed with our proposal so I am confident that the changes will provide them with what they’ve been asking for in terms of a greater number of softer specification tyres each weekend.”