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Tire talk with Bridgestone

January 26, 2003
1

Tire talk with Bridgestone -- conducted with Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager Bridgestone Motorsport

Q: Firstly, are you happy with the development direction Bridgestone has taken during the winter?

Yes, of course. We have analyzed last years results and tried to clarify our strengths and weaknesses so we can solve any problems from a development point of view. We have done a lot of testing and we're pleased with the results so far. We believe we will be competitive again this year.

Q: Bridgestone has worked closely with the Ferrari team over the past years with outstanding results. How important is it that Bridgestone's working relationships with its other teams progress in the same direction?

If you work with one team too much your development direction can go wrong sometimes. We need our other teams to confirm our development direction. Our philosophy is that it's very important to work with several teams.

Q: Since Bridgestone started its testing for 2003, the rules have changed and tire suppliers are now permitted to produce tires tailored to each of its teams. How much more work has this created for Bridgestone and how has it affected the testing program?

Our basic intention is to develop one very good tire that will perform well on all cars. So we first concentrate on our best specification and then see how it performs with the teams. If we need to adjust it, then we can.

Q: Traction control will not be permitted from half way through the season this year ie from Silverstone GP. What effect will that have on Bridgestone and the tires it will supply?

This is only very recent news. Our current tires have been developed for running with traction control. Compared to previous years, say 2001, our compound now is probably a bit softer so we may need to go harder with the compound. But it is difficult to say at the moment as the durability of our compounds has improved. At some stage though, we will try to run without traction control to see the effects on our tires.

Q: If you need to adjust the compound, does this mean you will be running two parallel test programs until Silverstone?

No, I don't think so. We know what we used at Silverstone last year so we can adjust accordingly.

Q: What about construction of the tires?

We probably won't need to adjust the construction. The construction gives the car balance and once a car is balanced with one construction, then it should be balanced without traction control.

Q: Perhaps the biggest change is a single wet weather tire. How far have you progressed with a wet weather tire?

This is a big issue for us. A big issue as in, a big challenge because that is what motivates us from an engineers point of view. It will be tough but enjoyable. However, it is very difficult to make one super wet weather tire to cover the whole range from wet to damp conditions. We need to search which range to concentrate on for our tires.

--Bridgestone-  

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