Bridgestone not satisfied with performance

Although Ferrari refuses to blame Bridgestone for the apparent fall off in performance of its F2003-GA, there were no comments like those issuing from the Williams camp after the European Grand Prix. "The car was perfect and the tyres were perfect," exuded Ralf Schumacher after taking his fifth career victory, and Williams a valuable one-two

Bridgestone not satisfied with performance

The Japanese tyre manufacturer is widely regarded to have lost ground to its French rival Michelin and has been beaten by Michelin twice in the last three races. Kimi Raikkonen's Michelin-shod McLaren comprehensively out-gunned the Ferraris throughout the European GP meeting last weekend, taking pole position and dominating before he retired with engine failure.

Nonetheless, Ferrari's sporting director Jean Todt refused to apportion any particular blame. When asked if it would be easy to fault the tyres, he said: "Yes, but we are not intending to blame them because it would be completely wrong.

"Tyres have a big role to play and they have done since the start of the season. If you work it out, you will see that Bridgestone lead five-four and so Bridgestone still has a lead and I hope that they can maintain that."

Bridgestone's technical manager, Hisao Suganuma was less philosophical, and typically less lenient: "In conjunction with our teams we do have to look carefully at what happened," he said. "To be honest I am not satisfied and we will be pushing hard in the next few weeks."

Michelin Motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier naturally made hay while the sun shone: "I think Michelin has shown a clear tyre performance advantage in the last three grands prix, which indicates that our simulation and evaluation procedures are becoming ever more refined," he said.

With Ferrari fielding a car that is widely recognized as being the class of the field, the current pendulum swing of tyre performance is clearly a cause for concern among all the Bridgestone runners. BAR is second to Ferrari on the Japanese rubber and team principal David Richards gave his thoughts on the matter.

"It's a big concern, a very big concern for us," he said. "One assumes that Bridgestone is working hard at this, as we are, and we've just got to continue to work hard together.

"Ferrari's car would appear to be the class of the field, and yet they're struggling now, so I think that they will be having some little discussions."

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