Bridgestone enters the final season of its contract as Official Tyre Supplier to the FIA Formula One World Championship with the commencement of the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 14 with Bridgestone’s super soft and medium 2010 specification dry slick tyres.
Changes for this year include a narrower front tyre, to give a more even grip balance front to rear, and modifications to the tyre construction and compounds, due to the heavier cars and different strategy options brought about by the ban on refuelling. Two compounds of dry tyre will be available for every grand prix, with the requirement that both are used in the race. The concept of non-consecutive tyre allocations, first seen last season, remains.
The softer tyre at any race will be designated by green bands on the side walls, highlighting Bridgestone’s support of the FIA’s Make Cars Green campaign. Bridgestone’s range of dry tyres for the season retain the same names of hard, medium, soft and super soft, although all compounds are changed from those used in 2009.
In a change to the regulations, the number of tyres available per driver for each grand prix is reduced from 7 of each compound to 6 of the ‘prime’ compound and 5 of the ‘option’. The wet tyre range remains as before, with the wet and intermediate tyre available at every race, with 3 sets of the wet and 4 of the intermediate available for each driver.
Bahrain starts a season for the second time in its seven year history and serves up a new track layout to challenge the teams for the first of 19 races this year. Changes to the Sakhir circuit mean that a lap will now be 6.299 km long, in contrast to its previous 5.412km, making Bahrain the second longest on the calendar after Spa. High temperatures usually prevail in Bahrain and it is seldom wet. Traction demands of the layout mean tyre usage needs to be closely monitored.
Hiroshi Yasukawa – Director of Bridgestone Motorsport, says: “This will be our fourteenth season in Formula One and we are anticipating a fantastic year ahead of exciting racing. We will be welcoming new teams, the return of Michael Schumacher after three seasons away and the introduction of regulation changes, all of which will play a part in making Formula One a fascinating sport to follow this year. For Bridgestone, the sport will continue to play a strong role in providing our sales companies with strong promotional and marketing opportunities and the Middle East, being a strategically important market for us, is an excellent place to start the season.”
Hirohide Hamashima - Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development, says: “There are both technical and logistical challenges for Bridgestone in 2010. No refuelling means we have modified the tyre construction and have all new compounds of dry tyres. As well as cars which will be approximately 100kgs heavier at the start of the race, we will see different pit stop strategies this season and the top ten cars starting with their qualifying tyres brings many strategy considerations for teams too. In terms of logistics we have new teams and 19 races. The Sakhir circuit layout is different this year, with an additional eight turns, and this will have an impact on tyre wear and car set up. We have the super soft tyre, which is from our lower temperature working range, and the medium, which is from our higher temperature working range. All this sets us up for a very exciting opening race to the season, especially with only relatively limited running in pre-season testing.”Source: Bridgestone F1