High hopes and huge potential were dashed one by one this weekend for Bridgestone as each of its Monaco Grand Prix podium contenders had their race weekends ruined. Bridgestone had brought new soft compound tyres to the Principality this week and they were working well.
However, the first sign of trouble came when Saturday’s provisional pole man, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro’s Michael Schumacher, was sent to the back of the grid for a driving infringement. This was followed today by a cruel blow to WilliamsF1’s Mark Webber’s hopes when his car suffered an exhaust failure while the Australian was running in a strong third place. His teammate, Nico Rosberg, crashed out shortly after the safety car period and Panasonic Toyota Racing’s Jarno Trulli, who had climbed to third place by the closing stages of the race, was also robbed of a podium due to a mechanical failure.
His teammate, Ralf Schumacher, did however salvage a point for the team. Michael Schumacher, meanwhile, had an impressive race, finishing fifth and setting the fastest lap of the race. However, although he and Ferrari retain their second places in the drivers’ and constructors’ championships, he has a lot of work to do in the coming races. MF1 Racing’s Christijan Albers and Tiago Monteiro both finished today’s race, as did Super Aguri F1’s Franck Montagny.
Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager of Bridgestone Motorsport “Despite not having a Bridgestone runner finish on the podium today I am very proud of the performance of our tyres this weekend. The new soft compounds brought for the Monaco Grand Prix were clearly working very well. Mark Webber was undoubtedly set for a podium before having to pull over and Michael Schumacher climbed from the back of the field to fifth place. He also set the fastest lap towards the end of the race which really showed the consistency of the tyres as he was on a long second stint. It was then very frustrating to see Jarno Trulli, who was running in third place in the closing stages of the race, retire with a mechanical problem. So, although our teams will leave Monaco with just a handful of points, we feel satisfied that Bridgestone had the better tyre, capable of winning the race.”
Bridgestone Team News
Ross Brawn, Technical Director – Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro: “The car was very good during the race with good balance and performance. The Bridgestone tyres were excellent, both in terms of performance and consistency. It was just a question of trying to find ways through the traffic. We changed the strategy about half way through the race which gave us a break and enabled us to jump a few cars. I think we were very unlucky with the safety car which came out at just the wrong time. Obviously it’s frustrating not to have had the results we could have had with the car this weekend but it will make us even more determined now for the rest of the season. We’ve got the car, the team, the drivers and the tyres and we’ll be doing our utmost to close the gap on our rivals over the next eleven races.”
Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis – Panasonic Toyota Racing: “The Bridgestone tyres have worked well today. We had no issues with wear or graining and the consistency was fine. We showed good pace and we’re pleased with that Ralf scored a point but of course we are all desperately disappointed to have missed out on a podium with Jarno.”