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F1 NEWS 

New tyre rules not the answer for F1

Bahrain GP startFormula 1 tyre supplier Bridgestone has told teams not to look at it to try and improve the racing this year - with the company already confident the spectacle will be better at the Australian Grand Prix.

On the back of a far from thrilling season opener in Bahrain, the focus from a lot of teams has been on trying to change the tyre rules in a bid to spice up the racing.

There has been talk about introducing mandatory pitstops or in forcing Bridgestone to bring totally different compound tyres to the events - perhaps in having only the super soft and the hard tyres available.

However, Bridgestone's director of motorsport tyre development Hirohide Hamashima thinks that such plans are flawed.

"We just want to provide the best tyres for each grand prix," Hamashima told AUTOSPORT about the company's stance after the Bahrain Grand Prix. "This is our mission.

"Of course we can change the [compound] allocation. However it is not so proper - because even if we provide a very big degradation of one spec and a consistent one as the other one, if the teams choose the same strategy then nothing changes. That is our logic."

Hamashima said that tyre compound choices were now totally in place for the first half of the season, and thinks it would be too risky to go softer with tyres later in the year because of the high-speed venues on the calendar.

"We have produced the tyres already until the middle of the season," he said. "The remaining circuits are very, very severe - for example Monza and Suzuka. For those circuits if we use the super soft then we have a risk to get blistering. That is not so good for F1."

Although believing that new tyre rules are not the answer to improving the show, Hamashima thinks the situation will improve by itself with unique circumstances partly to blame for what happened in Bahrain.

The Sakhir track is very easy on tyres, which meant there was little performance difference between the supersoft and medium tyres that were taken to the track. Furthermore, as the first race of the new non-refuelling era, Hamashima reckoned drivers played things too conservatively and looked after their tyres too much.

Hamashima said that discussions had already taken place with F1 race director Charlie Whiting about the matter as he explained why the performance difference between the two tyres in Bahrain did not appear to be so large.

"Charlie asked me about the performance difference in Bahrain. I explained to him, and showed data analysis, comparing last year and this year.

"In Bahrain, the performance difference was bigger than last year. Maybe if you watch the lap chart, especially Rubens [Barrichello], you can see his lap time was very quick in the second stint with the super soft.

"If we consider that point, then the tyre performance difference is enough. But Bahrain is very, very gentle for tyres so it is difficult to make a different performance of specifications.

"Maybe the drivers could have used the tyres a little bit harder both with the supersoft and the medium. The remaining tyre performance was certainly enough."

The early evidence from practice in Melbourne is also pointing to a bigger difference between teams and the two tyre choices with the severity of the Albert Park circuit prompting some graining on the soft tyres after a few laps.

Hamashima said: "I think here will be a different picture. This weekend, I believe the car performance difference may be bigger and tyre performance may also be getting a little bit bigger. That should mix things up."

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