Bridgestone feels Michelin pressure

Formula 1 tyre supplier Bridgestone has had to up its game in recent Grands Prix due to extra pressure from its rival Michelin, according to the Japanese firm's head of tyre development, Hirohide Hamashima

Bridgestone feels Michelin pressure

The Michelin-shod Williams-BMW cars of Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya have been taking the fight to Bridgestone rivals McLaren and Ferrari during the three races preceding the British GP.

However, at the Silverstone race Montoya was the highest placed Michelin runner in fourth and Bridgestone teams were definitely back on top. Hamashima believes Bridgestone development has been accelerated by the extra pressure from Michelin.

"We have been carrying out normal development, but the competition situation has probably accelerated it," said Hamashima. "Our competitors' packages, especially Williams-BMW, have been performing well, so we have responded to that."

With teams heading to the high-speed Hockenheim circuit this weekend, the tyre companies are faced with a different challenge to Silverstone and must provide rubber to suit both the long straights and the twisty stadium section of the German track.

"The Hockenheimring's characteristics make it almost like two circuits in one," said Bridgestone Motorsport technical manager, Hisao Suganuma. "Degradation is normally quite low, so a one-stop strategy is the norm. With the track reaching long into the forests, it can be raining over the pits, but dry elswhere."

Michelin, meanwhile, will be taking two new compounds to the German track after last week's testing at Monza.

"We did our final pre-race tests at Monza to finalise one of or compounds," said Michelin's F1 project manager, Pascal Vasselon. "And we will have two new options with us at Hockenheim."

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