Bridgestone assessing wet tire options Tetsuro Kobayashi, technical manager for Bridgestone Motorsport explains how the Formula One season is developing for the sole tire supplier, and what the manufacturer is doing to be improve the performance and safety through their products. Along with answers to why tire testing was a bigger priority than ever before, especially recently in Jerez, where some teams even tested tires for the 2010 season.
What was learnt from this test? "Once more we have had a test which has been difficult for data collection with temperature changes and a lot of rain and high winds. With many different tires used we have a lot to analyze, but we have seen no major issues. Teams understand that with so many regulation changes it will take time before they maximize their potential tire performance, but we have definitely seen good progress."
Why were so many different tires tested in Jerez? "Once the season has started we will not have testing like we have had in previous years so we have to make the most of pre and post-season testing. This is why we had many tire specifications available in Jerez."
Why is there such a difference using the wet tires with the 2009 cars? "The 2009 aerodynamic regulations have been designed to decrease the amount of downforce available. In the dry, the lost aerodynamic grip has been partially countered by the greater amount of grip from the slicks and the bigger contact patch they have with the track.
"In the wet, the aerodynamic situation is the same, but our tire specifications have not changed since 2008, so this means there is less overall grip in the wet than previously, and the drivers have to adapt their driving accordingly."
Can Bridgestone do anything to increase grip levels in the wet? "Historically we have used a different wet compound for Monaco, where higher grip is required due to the smooth nature of this track. We have developed a new wet compound for Monaco in 2009, and we are currently evaluating if it is durable enough to take to other circuits to offer more grip."
Can you explain the reasoning behind Bridgestone's recently announced tire markings? "We will mark the softer of the two compounds available at a race weekend with green bands on the outer edges of the sidewalls. We tested many different alternatives and this location gave the best visibility, from the side and also a head-on view. We have used the color green as it shows our support of the FIA's Make Cars Green campaign." Source: Bridgestone Motorsport
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