Bridgestone Blame Rules for Struggle

Bridgestone have blamed their lack of performance with Ferrari this season on the unique demands placed on them by the switch to long-life tyres

The Japanese tyre manufacturer have been left playing catch up against rivals Michelin this  season - and the company's director of tyre development Hirohide Hamashima feels that new-for-2005 regulations that outlaw tyre changes in races were to blame for the situation.

"One of the reasons for that situation (Ferrari and Bridgestone's struggles) is this year's dramatic change to the regulations," said Hamashima.

"At first, we concentrated on producing a construction of tyre that had the durability to deal with the regulations. Of course, this is a very important factor, especially from the safety point of view.

"Only once we felt we had reached a satisfactory point in that side of the development, we began to work on the compound side. But this year we have to check the durability of a compound over a distance of around 350 kilometres, whereas last year, over that distance we could have tested three types of compound or specification.

"In effect, having to test a compound over a much greater distance has greatly increased the time it takes to evaluate a tyre compound. That is why it has taken us a long time to develop a new specification and that has delayed our progress."

Bridgestone's tyre development plans were hindered by the fact that they could only conduct serious testing with one front-running team, while Michelin had several leading outfits they could call upon to assist them.

That is why Hamashima has said he is welcoming the arrival of Williams and Toyota next season to help them in testing development next season.

"This is a very important factor," he explained. "The new teams have already indicated that they want to co-operate, not only with us but also with Ferrari as well.

"So their technical directors will all be involved in discussions and I would like to see a sharing of data from testing going on in our trucks. I believe our development speed will get much quicker because of this factor."

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