Bridgestone satisfied after busy test with slicks

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Bridgestone Motorsport, the Official Tyre Supplier to the FIA Formula One World Championship, has completed its second major 2009 specification slick tyre test as well as a preparatory test for next week’s Gran Premio de Espana Telefonica at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona, Spain.

Ten teams were present over the four days of testing from 14-17 April where Bridgestone’s hard and medium compound 2008 specification dry grooved tyres were supplied to teams as well as three compounds of 2009 specification developmental slick tyres.

Mixed conditions greeted teams with moderate winds affecting running on the first three days and rain falling on the circuit during the final day of the test, meaning that the Bridgestone Potenza wet weather tyres also came into use.

Tyre performance of the 2008 specification tyres was good with no reported issues as teams finalised their set-ups and tested new parts at this circuit, with which they have a great deal of familiarity as they extensively test there.

Bridgestone supplied nine sets of 2009 specification slick tyres per team, enabling both Bridgestone and the teams to accumulate knowledge of these tyres. The teams also ran cars to next year’s regulations, which include excluding the use of tyre warmers. This was the second test of slick tyres, following on from the test in Jerez in December last year.

Bridgestone’s hard and medium compound grooved Potenza tyres will be in use at the Circuit de Catalunya next week for the fourth round of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship, the Gran Premio de Espana Telefonica, on April 25-27.

Tetsuro Kobayashi, Technical Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport: What has Bridgestone learnt from this test?

“Looking to next week’s race at Barcelona we are confident of our current specifications of tyres. It is a harsh circuit on tyres, and this is why we bring our hardest compounds, but tyre performance and appearance have both been good during the test. Running with the slick tyres has been interesting and we are also happy with their performance. The situation of warm-up with these tyres is much improved as we look to the future with no tyre blankets. We brought three compounds of slicks here so there was a lot of work to do, especially with teams running with different aerodynamic configurations. And, of course, teams are focusing on their developments and set-up for next week’s race. The wet weather on Thursday did reduce running on the dry tyres but it gave teams the opportunity to test their wet weather set-ups.”

What is the next step for development for the slick tyres?

“We have accumulated good data for analysis from the four days here. This data will be processed and investigated carefully to evaluate our next steps. Teams will also be making use of the data they have gained. The drivers now have a greater understanding of driving Formula One cars with slick tyres to the 2009 regulations with lower levels of downforce and no tyre blankets. We should all expect to see more progress next time we test slicks, which is planned for the Jerez test in July.