After the encouraging start to this season’s FIA Formula One World Championship in Bahrain last weekend which saw Bridgestone’s teams come away with pole position, points, a podium and the fastest race lap between them, Bridgestone Motorsport is eager to capitalise on the results of round one.
Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher arrives in Malaysia in second place in the championship and will undoubtedly be aiming for the top step of the podium at this weekend’s 56-lap Malaysian Grand Prix. The WilliamsF1 team drivers Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg will again be making the most of having Friday test driver Alex Wurz to do their tyre ground work and after their strong points scoring performances in Bahrain, will be aiming for the podium this weekend too.
Toyota’s Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli had a less encouraging start to their season but will be working closely with Bridgestone’s engineers to solve their grip problems and get their season properly underway. The MF1 Racing and Super Aguri teams will also be looking to build on their Bahrain performances.
The 2006 tyre regulations permit each driver seven sets of dry tyres, four sets of wet weather tyres and three sets of extreme wet weather tyres.
Combined with the increased number of teams running with Bridgestone in 2006, approximately 1,200 Bridgestone Potenza Formula One tyres have been sent from the Technical Centre in Kodaira City, Tokyo, to Malaysia’s Sepang Circuit.
Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Motorsport
“The Bridgestone Motorsport team has come away from the Bahrain Grand Prix greatly encouraged. I also think the new qualifying format has really spiced things up for the teams and fans. From our point of view we know there is still a lot of hard work to come yet but it was a fantastic way to start the season. I am very impressed with the potential amongst our five teams and anticipate seeing some great drives from them this year.”
“Considerable efforts have been made this winter by our engineers both in the UK and Japan to give our teams competitive tyres and although some teams are still un-tapping the potential of the Bridgestone tyres, I am confident that we have several strong team-tyre manufacturer packages this year. Having seen Michael Schumacher on the podium in Bahrain, our aim this weekend is to put a Bridgestone driver on the top step and as many drivers in the points as possible.”
Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager
“For Malaysia we will need high performing tyres for a hot and humid climate on a circuit which is very demanding on the rears. Having seen our performance in Bahrain we are confident that the specifications of Bridgestone Potenza F1 tyres the teams have chosen will cope with these demands. Good consistency from the rear tyres is a key factor at the Sepang circuit. The track, which has a smooth surface and therefore requires compounds from the medium to soft range, is an exciting mix of high and low speed corners.”
“The issue here, however, is how to keep the tyre temperatures down in the tyres. The drivers will need good balance, traction and grip through the slow speed corners and for that they will want lower tyre temperatures. This is not easy when a slow speed corner follows a heat generating high speed corner. To assist our teams we shall be providing them with the same series of new tyre constructions and compounds which performed so competitively in Bahrain.”