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DATE News (chronologically)
11/20/08
f1
A new era for Bridgestone  Bridgestone this week completed its first post-season test at the Circuit de Catalunya where two compounds of 2009 specification slick tires were used as well as 2008 specification grooved tires.

Nine teams were present over three days of testing and they made use of hard and soft compound slick tires as well as grooved tires. Dry conditions meant that there was no use made of Bridgestone’s wet, extreme wet or development single wet tire.

Although the weather was dry, it was cold, meaning that attaining and maintaining tire temperature was a challenge for teams, particularly with the hard compound slick. A significant amount of data was gained with 22 different drivers over the course of the three days. Teams used visibly different packages, with development 2009 aerodynamic packages, interim and 2008 specification cars all in use. There was also some use of KERS systems by certain teams. Grooved tires are a different concept of tire from slicks and their introduction brought many challenges such as graining and a change of tire construction. The return to slick tires in some ways makes things simpler, and the drivers in particular have welcomed their return. Our current slicks are very different from those we last used in Formula One in the 1997 season, and we have applied the lessons learnt from eleven seasons of working with grooved tires and from our long experience of other categories of slick tire.”

Will there be two specifications of tire at each race next season, and how will you distinguish between them?
“We will take two specifications of tire to each race and we have worked to engineer two specifications which have a greater difference in characteristics between the two than we saw in the 2008 season. The harder tire of any given allocation should offer very good consistency, but not enable as good an initial lap time. The softer compound should offer a very good initial lap time, but will experience performance drop-off the more it is used. It is hoped that this should provide competitors with many challenges and strategy options to encourage exciting racing. As regards tire markings, we are still evaluating exactly what we will use.”

Have you decided which compound allocations to take to each race yet?
“We are still accumulating data and it will be some time before we determine the particular tire allocations for each Grand Prix.”

What effect do the Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) have from a tire perspective?
“There should be no difference to overall tire performance from the additional burst of power that the KERS systems are designed to provide. This is shown by the data we have seen from the systems that have been used so far. In terms of the overall performance of a Formula One car it is quite a complex area. To be effective, a good KERS system needs to be compact and light so it does not compromise the weight distribution opportunities of the chassis. Weight distribution, of course, affects tire performance so the designers have this in mind when they design their KERS set-ups. This is all part of the challenge of Formula One, and illustrates why Formula One is an excellent test bed for new and emerging technology.”


Bridgestone Motorsport Technical Manager Tetsuro Kobayashi takes questions...

Which tires did Bridgestone bring to this test?
“We have brought two compounds of 2009 specification slick tires, of a hard and soft compound. We also have several compounds of 2008 grooved tire here as well as our current wet and extreme wet tires, and the developmental single wet tire.”

What was learnt with the slick tires?
“We already have a lot of data from previous running with slick tires, so the test helped build on this and allowed the teams to evaluate and develop their approach to using these tires. The weather here in Barcelona has been quite cold so teams have found it difficult to warm up and maintain the heat in their tires with the harder compound slick. We have gained a lot of data over the three days and we are still analyzing it. This is not a completely straight-forward process as there were so many variations of car specification used here over the three days, with current cars, simulated 2009 downforce cars, and cars with early versions of the 2009 aerodynamic packages. Also, there were cars with KERS systems, which are still under development. It has been a very interesting three days, particularly as we have had feedback from a five-time World Rally Champion, as well as seeing new drivers, including the very well known motor sport name of Senna out on track.”

How different are the slicks from the grooved tires we have seen for the last eleven seasons?

“Grooved tires are a different concept of tire from slicks and their introduction brought many challenges such as graining and a change of tire construction. The return to slick tires in some ways makes things simpler, and the drivers in particular have welcomed their return. Our current slicks are very different from those we last used in Formula One in the 1997 season, and we have applied the lessons learnt from eleven seasons of working with grooved tires and from our long experience of other categories of slick tire.”

Will there be two specifications of tire at each race next season, and how will you distinguish between them?
“We will take two specifications of tire to each race and we have worked to engineer two specifications which have a greater difference in characteristics between the two than we saw in the 2008 season. The harder tire of any given allocation should offer very good consistency, but not enable as good an initial lap time. The softer compound should offer a very good initial lap time, but will experience performance drop-off the more it is used. It is hoped that this should provide competitors with many challenges and strategy options to encourage exciting racing. As regards tire markings, we are still evaluating exactly what we will use.”

Have you decided which compound allocations to take to each race yet?
“We are still accumulating data and it will be some time before we determine the particular tire allocations for each Grand Prix.”

What effect do the Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) have from a tire perspective?
“There should be no difference to overall tire performance from the additional burst of power that the KERS systems are designed to provide. This is shown by the data we have seen from the systems that have been used so far. In terms of the overall performance of a Formula One car it is quite a complex area. To be effective, a good KERS system needs to be compact and light so it does not compromise the weight distribution opportunities of the chassis. Weight distribution, of course, affects tire performance so the designers have this in mind when they design their KERS set-ups. This is all part of the challenge of Formula One, and illustrates why Formula One is an excellent test bed for new and emerging technology.”

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