Bridgestone Aim to Redeem Themselves

Bridgestone are not inferior to rivals Michelin and are looking to redeem themselves in the 2006 season

Bridgestone Aim to Redeem Themselves

That is what Bridgestone's head of tyre development Hirohide Hamashima believes following a disappointing 2005 season, in which the Japanese tyre company scored just one victory compared to Michelin's 18.

"In the last few years we did our part in winning races and championships together," Hamashima told Gazzetta dello Sport. "If things were to keep going bad in the future, it would cause a big damage to us. Racing is hard and you can't always win.

"Bridgestone's technology isn't inferior to Michelin's: we have all we need to get back to the top. With Williams and Toyota having our tyres in 2006, things will improve. We'll start 2006 with a clean sheet, both us and Michelin. We have to redeem ourselves."

Bridgestone admitted to part of the blame for Ferrari's struggles this year, but Hamashima says their tyres were not the only reason why they failed to achieve their goals.

"We've obtained less than we expected. Tyre development was a bit late compared to our rivals, so we take some blame. But Ferrari also admitted that the overall package wasn't so competitive," he added.

"The 2005 regulations forced us to build tyres with a carcass that had to last three times as much compared to 2004. So we quickly built the carcasses and then concentrated on the compounds. Unfortunately we only had one strong team for the tests, Ferrari. So we fell behind. Not much, but enough to make the difference.

"I don't want to blame the car but compared to 2004, it has certainly been difficult to find the right balance with the F2005."

When asked about the main reason why the car's balance was so hard to find this year, Hamashima said: "Aerodynamics, in my opinion."

Bridgestone will also supply to Williams and Toyota next year, and Hamashima believes the tyre company will benefit from their feedback.

"When one finds the right direction, then the exclusive deal with a team works perfectly because you can concentrate all resources on that team," Hamashima said. "But when the difficulties are big, then you need more pointers for development.

"This year we didn't find the direction. If we had another strong team we would have had more advices on how to improve."

And with the FIA set to allow tyre changes again next year, Hamashima has dismissed suggestions that Bridgestone are likely to benefit from it after having struggled with the one-tyre rules this season.

"Ron Dennis talks about the advantages we'll have again, but it's not right to talk that way. Everyone competes with the same regulations. We didn't ask anything like this to the FIA, even though tyre changes can bring more safety and spectacle, without increasing overall costs."

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