Tag Archives: Bridgestone

Extreme gap in tyre compounds for German GP

Bridgestone F1 tyres

Bridgestone F1 tyres

Bridgestone have announced that they are to bring a 2-step gap in the tyre compounds in the tyres that they will bring to the German Grand Prix, in an effort to mix up tyre strategies. Following the Canadian GP, the Japanese company had said that they would be more radical with their tyre compound choices.

For the race in Hockenheim, Bridgestone are to bring the super-soft and hard tyres, meaning that there will be a 2-step difference in tyre compounds, the first time that this has been done this season. Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone’s head of motorsport tyre development, said that the characteristics of the Hockenheim circuit allowed this extreme tyre variation to go ahead.

However, for the next 4 races after this, there will only be 1 gap between tyre compounds. In Hungary, the super-softs and mediums will be used, and similarly for Singapore. The soft and hard tyres will be used for Belgium and Italy.. Hamashima explained these choices:

"The Hungaroring requires a softer allocation as finding grip is 
always a target there. Spa and Monza are high speed tests for 
cars and tyres, needing a harder allocation because of the heat 
durability requirements. Singapore is a high-speed street course 
where the softer allocation is suited."

Personally, I think that a 2-step difference is dangerous, as performance in the cars will vary wildly across the race. What do you think? Is this a step too far to “improve the show”, or is a simple and effective way of spicing up the racing?

Cooper Avon in negotiations for tyre supply in 2011

It has emerged that Cooper Avon is in negotiation with FOTA about supplying tyres for next season, despite the fact that a provisional deal appears to already have been agreed with Michelin in principle.

For a tyre supplier to be allowed into F1, they need the unanimous support of the teams (FOTA), Bernie Ecclestone and the FIA. Michelin are currently looking for a chance to supply tyres in F1 again, but with certain conditions. They want at least one other manufacturer to battle with, and it is believed that they want 18-inch wheels on the cars instead of 13-inch wheels at the moment.

It has been reported that Bernie Ecclestone is not in favour of a deal with Michelin, possibly because of the conditions attached, and that he wants a different manufacturer instead. It is possibele that Cooper Avon would be able to use former Bridgestone employees to service the tyres, and ensure they are up to F1 standard.

It is currently unknown what FOTA’s stance on the situation is, as they are currently in negotiation with Cooper Avon, and they have provisionally agreed a deal with Michelin, so they may want both manufacturers in the sport next year.

A meeting with Bernie Ecclestone has been orgainised with FOTA representatives at the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday, as he has not yet told the teams what he wants to do for 2011. FOTA appear to want to know what tyres they will be using next year by the Spanish Grand Prix.

I’m not yet sure who I would prefer to see supply tyres next year. As we have already seen, tyres are critical this year, and that would tip toward Michelin, as they have plenty of recent Formula 1 experience, up to 2006. While Cooper Avon can get former Bridgestone employees to work with them, I still think Michelin would be easier.

But, the French company has brought their own conditions, something which has not impressed Bernie Ecclestone. At first, wanting another manufacturer looked like it could be possible, but asking for 18-inch wheels as well is asking for quite a bit. Having said that, I still think they will get a supply contract next year, possibly with Cooper Avon competing against them.

Bridgestone announce tyre compounds for next 4 races

Bridgestone tyres

Bridgestone tyres

Bridgestone have announced the tyre compounds that they will bring to the next 4 races after Australia and Malaysia.

For all of these 4 Grands Prix, there will be one compound step in between the two that are brought. In the cases of China, Spain and Turkey, Bridgestone will be supplying hard and soft compounds. However, for the first time, the cars in Monaco will use the medium tyres, as well as the super-softs.

Clearly by putting in a compound step, Bridgestone are trying to increase the difference in performance between the two tyres, and thereby improve the racing. The problem lies in that the harder of the two tyre compounds can mostly be used for a large portion of the race, without dangerous amounts of wear.

There are two main solutions here. One, suggested by many, is to make the harder tyres less durable, so there would be more of a variety in tyre strategy. This makes sense in theory, but it is a monumental waste of tyres when you consider that Bridgestone are trying to be environmentally friendly.

The other solution, one that I think would be much better, is to bring in the old 2005 rule of using one set of tyres for the entire race. This would significantly improve Formula 1′s environmental record, as well as clear up the problem of changes in car performance across the race because of tyre compounds. Of course, a pit stop would be available for an instance of extreme and dangerous tyre wear.

Here is the table for tyre compounds used already, and for the next few races:

Race 2009 compounds 2010 compounds
Bahrain Medium/Super-soft Medium/Super-soft
Australia Medium/Super-soft Hard/Soft
Malaysia Hard/Soft Hard/Soft
China Medium/Super-soft Hard/Soft
Spain Hard/Soft Hard/Soft
Monaco Medium/Super-soft Medium/Super-soft
Turkey Hard/Soft Hard/Soft

Large advantage to Sauber because of tyre managment

Sauber's biggest advantage could well be in their tyre managment

Sauber's biggest advantage could well be in their tyre managment

Only an hour ago, I was talking about how tyre managment was going to be a serious issue in Bahrain. Now, Bridgestone claim that Sauber could well be a thorn in the side of the “big four” teams, because they are so good at managing their tyres.

Sauber were already showing great pace in pre-season testing, and now news has been released saying that the team suffers less tyre degradation than Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes and McLaren. Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone’s director of motorsport tyre development, says that Sauber is different to the other teams:

"We have compared many teams' data and looking at the quick [four]
teams – their degradation tendency is very, very similar. Once they
have the 150kg start weight, with both the medium and soft compound,
then there is little difference – so we could expect a very close
pace. However, Sauber is more consistent."

There are two tactical advantages that Sauber can take from this. The first is more obvious, in that they can use the softer compund of tyres for longer distances than anyone else, and get a huge boost from this. In Bahrain, it is well known that the medium tyre is much worse than the super-soft, so Sauber can now benefit by being on the super-softs for longer without having to pit early.

The second is made in qualifying. In 2010, there is a new rule stating that the top 10 cars have to start the race with the tyres they set their fastest Q3 lap on. This will mean a mix of teams running the medium, who will be slower but will last longer into the race, or teams who run the super-soft, qualify well, andn then are forced to pit early. Now though, Sauber can confidently qualify with the super-soft tyre, and still be able to run a long distance with them. By my figuring, the optimum strategy for them would be to run the super-soft tyres for the first two stints, then the medium for the last stint. This would mean that they can keep up in terms of performance, and still run longer on better managed tyres.

BMW Sauber’s technical chief Willy Rampf has acknowledged that their tyre managment is one of their strong points:

"The car doesn't have any stability problems, and its performance 
and balance on high fuel loads is a strong point. We will build on 
this – it's a very good thing. Our car is not too heavy on its tyres, 
so we can do reasonable long stints without killing them.

That will help keep the strategies more flexible, if you're not 
forced to stop by tyre wear."

Last year, if you remember, Jenson Button won in Monaco, primarily because he was so good at managing the softer tyre, which degraded too quickly for the other teams and drivers, most notably Sebastian Vettel. This same scenario may well happen again in 2010.

Michelin discussing return to F1

Michelin F1 tyres

Michelin F1 tyres

Tyre maker Michelin is in “formal discussions” with the FIA, concerning a possible return to Formula 1 for the company. The French team had previously supplied tyres in F1 from 2001 to 2006.

With Bridgestone announcing that this will be their last year in F1, the FIA are on the lookout for a new tyre supplier. It is rumoured that Yokohama and Avon were looking at the possibility, but these rumours appear to be unfounded.

According to Bloomberg, Managing Partner for Michelin Jean-Dominique Senard said:

“We might consider returning but there are some very clear conditions. The major point is to make sure the tyres show what they can bring to the automotive industry.”

It is understood that Michelin’s conditions are relating to environmentally friendly products. The company’s new direction appears to be in protecting the environment with their tyres. So, if Michelin could produce an F1 tyre that lasted a full race distance, and maybe the materials could be recovered afterwards, it would be a great image for the company.

Of course, when many think of Michelin, they think of Indianapolis 2005. I don’t blame these people, it was a disgrace, but I believe that it would be good to see them back, as long as they bring something innovative to the sport.

The one tyre that nearly single-handedly threw them out of the sport... Ralf Schumacher's tyre at Indianapolis 2005

The one tyre that nearly single-handedly threw them out of the sport... Ralf Schumacher's tyre at Indianapolis 2005

Tyre compounds announced for first 3 races

Bridgestone F1 tyres

Bridgestone F1 tyres

F1 tyre supplier Bridgestone has announced their tyre compund allocations for the first 3 races of this year: Bahrain, Australia and Malaysia.

Circuit 2010 tyres 2009 tyres
Bahrain Medium / Super Soft Medium / Super Soft
Albert Park Hard / Soft Medium / Super Soft
Sepang Hard / Soft Hard / Soft

The compounds are one harder than last year for Australia. Last, year, they used the super-soft and medium, but the drivers complained that the super-soft tyre gave too much grip and wore out too quickly. This year, the soft and hard compounds are being used.

The same tyre types are being retained for the Bahrain and Malaysian races.

However, I am still annoyed to see the gaps in between the tyre compounds this year. We saw what happened at Melbourne last year: one wore out too quickly, while the other gave no grip. Of course, this stupid rule is to “improve the show”, as is absolutely every other rule introduced in the last few years.

This year, the drivers will have six sets of the harder (prime) tyres and five sets of the softer (option) tyres available to them for each race, while last year they had seven of each compound.

New constructions and compounds for tyres

Bridgestone F1 tyres

Bridgestone F1 tyres

Bridgestone have announced that they are to introduce new constructions and compound of their tyres this year, mainly to the refuelling ban meaning heavier cars.

Also, the green stripe on the soft and extreme wet tyres are to remain. This is to support the FIA’s Make Cars Green campaign.

The chief engineer at Bridgestone Motorsport, Jun Matsuzaki, said:

“All compounds have changed from last year based on the feedback and data we gained last season as well as the rule changes for this season. The tyres are designed to be more durable for this season due to the heavier cars and different strategy options because of no more refuelling.”

Bridgestone are to leave F1 at the end of 2010.

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