Q & A with Bridgestone's Hamashima

Tyres were a major talking point over the Turkish Grand Prix weekend, with lower than expected temperatures leaving teams and drivers with a difficult choice in which type of compound to take

Q & A with Bridgestone's Hamashima

On the back of that, McLaren found themselves having to put Lewis Hamilton onto a three-stop strategy after problems were found inside his tyres after Friday practice.

Autosport.com caught up with Bridgestone's director of motorsport tyre development Hirohide Hamashima in Istanbul to get his version of the weekend's events.

Q. This weekend proved very difficult with tyre choice, with drivers not able to make their mind up on what tyre was best, and different cars running different strategies. Was that purely down to the lower temperature?

Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development: Yes, that is maybe one of the reasons. But of course some teams used their past experiences, and Ferrari did that. Other teams used only their test data from this weekend. I believe that decided the strategy and explains why there were many varieties.

Q. Did the rubbering in of the track this weekend help the option tyre's graining problems you experienced on Friday?

HH: This time, the track surface improvement was not as much as we expected. That, and perhaps the weather being a bit cooler, could explain why there was not much difference between the medium and hard tyres.

Q. Can you explain the situation regarding McLaren this weekend?

HH: It is important to explain last year's troubles first. In 2007 we had a delamination of the tyre shoulder. At Turn 8 the front tyre rolls over (to the outside) because of the big lateral load. So the outside of the front tyre has a very small area working too much. That is why we had a delamination with Lewis. It was a big delamination with Lewis, but we found a small failure with every other driver.

So we improved the construction of the tyre over the winter, to improve the strength. So this weekend we didn't see any more trouble like we had last year - even with Lewis Hamilton.

But the cars are a little bit quicker this year and somehow Lewis's driving technique is different to other guys. So we found inside the tyre a small failure on the tyres.

Q. Was this only on the right front?

HH: Yes, the right front again. It was inside the sidewall area. So we discussed with McLaren about it and how to fix the troubles.

One solution was to make the inner pressure higher, or other solutions like that (in how to use the tyre). Then we suggested a strategy of 20 laps, 18 laps, 20 laps, but finally they decided on a three-stop strategy.

Q. And it was the same with both compounds of tyres?

HH: This is not related to the compound softness. It was a construction problem.

Q. Did you find any problems with Heikki Kovalainen?

HH: Heikki had no problems at all, it was just Lewis. He is a bit severe on the front tyre.

Q. Did you just advise McLaren to do it, or did you order them?

HH: It was not that they must do it. But we proposed a strategy of 20/18/20, if they took a two-stop strategy. That is what we would have preferred because the second stint is usually very severe, as you start at a very high level - and also the fuel is very high.

Q. The most extreme corners on the calendar for the tyres are Turn 8 here, and 100R at Fuji. Do you think what happened here is something you need to look at again before the Japanese Grand Prix?

HH: Fuji, of course, is very difficult. The problem there is shoulder delamination but we have now confidence on this issue so there should be no problem. Here in Turkey, it is a very, very specific corner - very long, with 4.5G. So it makes troubles for the race.

Q. Have you experienced this internal failure anywhere before?

HH: In other racing categories yes, but only many years ago.

Q & A with Stefano Domenicali
Previous article

Q & A with Stefano Domenicali

Next article

Post-race press conference - Turkey

Post-race press conference - Turkey
Load comments
Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1 Plus

Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Autosport on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup Plus

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. Autosport breaks down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems Plus

Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway. But instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Plus

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021 Plus

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as STUART CODLING finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022