Tyres remain challenge for Toyota in 2007

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In 2007, Bridgestone will be the only tyre supplier in Formula 1 and the revised tyre rules present a new challenge for all teams. The end of tyre competition has meant a reduction in the need for testing but the biggest change for 2007 is that instead of choosing to focus on the prime or option tyre from qualifying onwards, teams will be now be obliged to run both types of tyre in the race.

This should create some interesting strategic choices as engineers decide when to utilise the softer or harder compounds. Drivers will have 14 sets of tyres per weekend, with four of them available for Friday’s extended practice sessions.

Panasonic Toyota Racing made the decision to switch to Bridgestone last year. It is hoped this will give the team a head start over those rivals who only made the change at the end of 2006. Because the actual tyres are different from last year, this advantage results from the general working relationship the team has established with Bridgestone rather than specific knowledge of the product.

In addition, after changing supplier last year and climbing a steep learning curve Toyota put more emphasis than ever before on understanding how tyres interact with the chassis. Now everyone is using the same tyres, those who have the knowledge to get the most out of them should have an advantage.

“I would say it’s definitely helped in terms of the collaboration process,” says Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis, of the early co-operation with Bridgestone in 2006. “We have installed a very good partnership with Bridgestone, we know the people who are taking care of us so in terms of process we are working well.

“However, in terms of adaptation to the tyres, we are back to tyres which are based on 2005 solutions, which the Toyota team doesn’t know and are very different to the 2006 concept. Thus from the technical aspect of discovering the new tyre character, we are in very similar conditions to all other teams.”

Source Toyota Pictures of the new TF107:
http://www.f1technical.net/gallery/v/To ... 07/Launch/