Bridgestone reacts to Michelin threat

Bridgestone will debut a brand new tyre in this weekend's French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours in an attempt to fend off the challenge of Michelin

Bridgestone reacts to Michelin threat

The French manufacturer is expected to hold a significant advantage at its home grand prix after Williams-BMW's test driver Marc Gene set the pace for Michelin in testing four weeks ago. The circuit is notoriously harsh on rear tyres, while high temperatures are anticipated this weekend and could play a part.

Bridgestone has responded with a brand new dry compound to cope with the demands of the ultra-smooth French venue.

"During testing at Magny-Cours earlier this month, the track temperature reached 50 degrees," said Hisao Suganuma, Bridgestone's technical manager. "In simple terms, hotter weather will require a more durable compound, but if the temperature is not as high as we expect, our higher grip compound will be the one to choose. Either way, we have a tyre to suit the conditions.

"Rear tyre degradation can be an issue at Magny-Cours, especially when it is warmer. However, we have plenty of experience at the track and such potential problems have been taken into account as we have developed our tyres for this year's race.

Suganuma says the layout of the circuit also has a big impact on the wear rate of tyres, and traction control might not be sufficient to cancel the degradation.

"The track has a number of quite tight corners, chicanes and hairpins," he said. "If drivers accelerate out of the corners early, sometimes the tyres can overheat or there is too much wear on the rear tyres and as a result their performance suffers. Traction control may help in these circumstances, but it is difficult to calculate what positive influence it could have, if any, and therefore we have not relied on it in our choice of compounds for the race."

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