May 11 (GMM) Bridgestone is showing signs of performing a dramatic U-turn and staying in formula one beyond 2010.
Currently, the Japanese supplier is due to depart at the end of the season, as potential replacements including Michelin, Pirelli, Avon, Kumho and possibly others clamour at the paddock turnstiles.
But the teams are trying to persuade Bridgestone to stay, and have written a letter to Bridgestone Europe that will be passed on to CEO Shoshi Arakawa.
“The request is an honour,” said the marque’s F1 boss Hiroshi Yasukawa.
Before departing Barcelona, he indicated in a statement that F1 is still important to Bridgestone.
“We hosted guests from the USA and Brazil as well as many from our European markets which has illustrated the importance of formula one as a business tool,” said Yasukawa.
“Our sales companies continue to support our formula one activities, showing the significance of this to our business.
“We are proud to have the support of all of the teams in this fantastic sport,” he added.
FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh said the teams are hoping the issue of 2011 tyre supply is settled in Monaco this weekend, but Stefano Domenicali fears it might take another week.
“There are four proposals that appear to be out there and maybe there’s another couple as well,” Whitmarsh confirmed to Reuters.
And with Michelin wanting tyre competitors and the smaller teams wanting cheaper options, the Briton admitted that the concept of multiple brands in F1 next year is not out of the question.
But he insisted: “If you use multiple suppliers, it has got to be controlled in terms of testing and development.”