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DATE News (chronologically)
04/17/09
f1
Graining an issue in Shanghai UPDATE (GMM)  Bridgestone's F1 chief has defended the decision to bring the softest compound of slick tire to the Chinese grand prix.

Drivers at Shanghai slammed the move, after the 'super soft' option proved disastrously too fragile in Australia last month.

Even though the fears were not fully realized in Friday practice today, Sebastian Vettel jokingly thanked his helmet and visor "which protects my eyes as the rubber is coming off!"

But Bridgestone's director of motorsport Hirohide Hamashima said one of the factors in deciding tire allocations is "feedback from the teams".

"All teams have a dedicated Bridgestone engineer who works with the drivers and team engineers so we have constant information regarding any tire issues," he said on Friday.

"The teams are made aware of our allocations for races many weeks in advance, so there is plenty of time for feedback," said Hamashima.

This year, a bigger gap between tire compounds is being used, ostensibly in an FIA move to spice up the show.

"This is in response to requests for this from the FIA and the teams.  This gives more of a challenge for the races, and of course any change brings many opinions," Hamashima continued.

He argued that making the soft tire work will be an interesting challenge this weekend.

"We saw different approaches to using the super soft tire in Australia, with some approaches working much better than others, so it will be interesting to see competitors rise to the challenge here in Shanghai," said Hamashima.



04/17/09 Bridgestone’s super soft tire proved to be the fastest rubber on track at Shanghai for the first day of the Chinese Grand Prix.

Jenson Button set the day’s fastest lap time in the afternoon practice session held in sunny weather conditions in his Brawn Mercedes, while McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton used the hard compound to go fastest in the morning.

The 5.45 km Shanghai circuit provided a challenge for competitors still mastering the 2009 specification cars and Bridgestone’s latest slick tires and new tire allocations.

Today was the first time that Bridgestone’s super soft compound tire has been used at Shanghai with the tire supplier reporting that the track surface delivered a lot less grip than seen in 2008’s Friday practice session when there was already rubber laid on the track as a GP2 Asia Series.

Hirohide Hamashima, Tire Development Director

“Today the circuit surface delivered very little grip initially in the first practice, but this improved and the track was better in the afternoon. As we would expect on a Friday, we saw graining, but the amount of graining varied across the teams."

"Of particular note, the tire appearance of the Brawn and Toyota cars was very beautiful and even, meaning they appear to be using their tires well, but some other teams are still finding the best set-ups. In the second session we saw both tires used and the performance of the super soft in terms of degradation was not as bad as in Australia.”

“We decide the allocations for the races based on many factors including past experience, test information and feedback from the teams. All teams have a dedicated Bridgestone engineer who works with the drivers and team engineers so we have constant information regarding any tire issues."

"The teams are made aware of our allocations for races many weeks in advance, so there is plenty of time for feedback. For 2009 we are making a bigger difference between the two compounds and this is in response to requests for this from the FIA and the teams."

"This gives more of a challenge for the races, and of course any change brings many opinions. Here we have the medium tire, which should be a strong race tire, and the super soft, which will require good tire management in terms of car set-up and driving style."

"Of course, we saw different approaches to using the super soft tire in Australia, with some approaches working much better than others, so it will be interesting to see competitors rise to the challenge here in Shanghai.”

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