Bridgestone plans narrower front tyre

Bridgestone is planning to introduce a narrower and lower profile front tyre next season to better suit the handling characteristics of the current generation of Formula 1 cars

Although F1's control tyre supplier switched from grooved to slick rubber this year, the dimensions of both the fronts and the rears remained unchanged. The removal of the grooves, which were the same size at the front and rear, has given the front tyres proportionally more grip than the back this year, creating more oversteer.

This requires teams to push the weight distribution of their cars even further forward than in 2008, something which exacerbates the difficulties of the heavier drivers, such as Robert Kubica, in running KERS.

Bridgestone is developing this spec of tyres in parallel with a change in the compounds, which is necessary because of the banning of refuelling next year.

"We are now discussing it with the FIA," said Bridgestone head of motorsport tyre development Hirohide Hamashima. "We haven't decided at the moment, but the trend is for a narrower front.

"The teams require Bridgestone to make the car balanced. In 2008, we proposed a smaller front tyre for 2009 but everybody refused it because they had already designed their cars, even though we commented on the oversteer tendency.

"In the winter, we tested a 2010 prototype tyre, a bit narrower, which made the car balance better than the current tyres. But it was not narrow enough for 2010 because they have to use KERS, so they asked us to think about that.

"At the moment, we have proposed an even narrower front tyre."

Hamashima ruled out the possibility of keeping the front tyres the same and widening the rears on cost grounds.

"A wider rear tyre is much more expensive because we have to revise the machinery and other things. We had narrower fronts in 1997, so we have the machines already."

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