Bridgestone Hoping for Stronger Race

Bridgestone's technical manager Hisao Suganuma hopes the Japanese company's partner teams can recover in tomorrow's race from their poor qualifying performances on Saturday

Bridgestone Hoping for Stronger Race

In a session dominated by Michelin-shod cars, the Ferrari of World Champion Michael Schumacher was the quickest of the Bridgestone runners. The German, however, was only 12th, nearly 1.5 seconds off the pace of Renault's Fernando Alonso.

Suganuma, however, is hoping their consistency will help them move forward in the race.

"Although we are naturally a little disappointed by the qualifying times of our drivers in today's first session, we are, however, pleased with the consistency of our tyres in race trim," said Suganuma. "This was evident from the previous practice sessions, where we observed excellent degradation rates.

"We would like to see our teams in better shape in qualifying in the future but we are not downbeat about this weekend as tomorrow could well be a different story and we are confident of being in good shape for the race.

"It will undoubtedly be a tough race for everyone but a consistent performance from the tyres will be key."

Bridgestone's poor showing comes after Ferrari boss Jean Todt defended his team's decision to refuse to join their rivals in self-imposed restrictions to do less testing. Ferrari argue that restrictions would play into the hands of rivals since Michelin have seven teams to test their tyres whereas Bridgestone rely on Ferrari.

"Ferrari is the only team moving Bridgestone's tyre development forward, which is also of benefit to the other two teams, Jordan and Minardi," said Todt in the statement on Friday.

"From the testing that has taken place in the first months of 2005 it can be seen that the Bridgestone runners did a quarter of total mileage achieved by those teams who are with he other tyre supplier."

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