Bridgestone Surprised by Michelin Failure

Bridgestone's head of tyre development Hirohide Hamashima has said the Japanese company was surprised by Michelin's problems at the United States Grand Prix

Bridgestone Surprised by Michelin Failure

"I don't like to see tyre failures, not even when it is to a competitor," Hamashima told Autosport-Atlas in an exclusive interview.

"When we see a tyre failure for our competitors, our minds begin to worry a bit about our tyre, you understand? I don't know (if they pushed design limits too far). If I looked at the tyre maybe I could answer for definite, but it seems that the pressure of the tyre would be wrong.

"We were very surprised at what happened. In a very few laps they suffered problems, but last year they had no problems. In the beginning of last year's race, of course, Ralf [Schumacher] had a problem, but they could run in the race for quite a distance. So, yes, it was quite a surprise."

Toyota's Ralf Schumacher crashed in Friday practice, ruling the German out of the Indianapolis race, while test driver Ricardo Zonta also crashed on Friday. Both accidents were caused by sudden tyre failures.

Michelin warned afterwards they would advise teams not to race unless a chicane was put in to reduce speeds.

The Michelin teams did not take part in the race and on Wednesday the FIA found them guilty of two of five specific charges but cleared them of the other three.

Hamashima refused to comment on the verdict, but welcomed Michelin's decision to compensate the fans in the hope of repairing the damage.

"It's not really appropriate for me to comment on today's hearing other than to say the FIA has done what it feels is most correct," Hamashima added.

"The US GP was a very disappointing day for F1 fans, and I can understand how disappointed they are. There are now plans [by Michelin] to compensate them and provide a quantity of tickets for next year to encourage the spectators to return, and I think this is a good thing.

"From our point of view, naturally we're pleased that all our teams have completed a full race distance and the durability of our tyres was demonstrated. We don't know the exact details of what happened to our rivals' tyres, so it would not be correct to comment.

"But what happened as a result, was not good for the sport, so now I hope we can look ahead more positively and continue the season.

"What is important now, is that the spectators can watch a race on Sunday with the full grid of cars.

"For us it is important to show that our teams have safe but competitive tyres, and it is better for us if our teams are successful if there's 20 drivers battling against each other, which is why we're looking forward to racing at Magny Cours this weekend."

Read the full interview in this week's issue of the Autosport-Atlas journal.

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Series Formula 1
Author Will Gray
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