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F1 NEWS 

Bridgestone downplays slick tyres worries

Bridgestone's F1 slicksBridgestone has played down the concerns of a number of Formula One drivers over the ban on tyre warmers in 2009, suggesting that the performance of its new slick tyres when cold had been 'much-improved'.

Michael Schumacher joined the likes of GPDA president Pedro de la Rosa, Nico Rosberg and David Coulthard in questioning the regulation which will call for drivers to warm their tyres on track from cold, leading to what they describe as 'alarming' speed differentials between cars up-to-speed and those on their out laps.

But Bridgestone Motorsport's technical manager Tetsuro Kobayashi said the Japanese tyre maker had made significant progress during this week's test at Barcelona.

"Running with the slick tyres has been interesting and we are also happy with their performance," he said. "The situation of warm-up with these tyres is much improved as we look to the future with no tyre blankets.

"We brought three compounds of slicks here so there was a lot of work to do, especially with teams running with different aerodynamic configurations."

Kobayashi added that he believes the situation would improve further as Bridgestone and the teams continued to develop the new tyres.

"We have accumulated good data for analysis from the four days here," he said. "This data will be processed and investigated carefully to evaluate our next steps.

"Teams will also be making use of the data they have gained. The drivers now have a greater understanding of driving Formula One cars with slick tyres to the 2009 regulations with lower levels of downforce and no tyre blankets.

"We should all expect to see more progress next time we test slicks, which is planned for the Jerez test in July."

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