Bridgestone Experience “Difficult F1 Test”
The official tyre supplier to Formula One, Bridgestone Motorsport has completed its first group test of 2009 at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve near Portimão, Portugal, where two compounds of 2009 specification slick tyres were used, as well as current specification wet and extreme wet tyres. Five teams were present over four days of testing between 19-22 January.
Though the Algarve location is famed for its good weather, the test was affected by wet and windy weather, and at one stage hailstones fell on the track during the course of the four days. While Bridgestone’s soft and super soft compound slick tyres were available for use, teams predominantly opted for the wet and extreme wet tyres. Adding to the difficulty of the wet weather, the ambient temperature was also much cooler than is expected to be experienced at races this season. This restricted the amount of meaningful data that could be obtained. Compounding the problem was the relatively new circuit, whose surface was very slippery as a result of both the weather and its freshness.
Tetsuro Kobayashi, technical manager of Bridgestone Motorsport told journalists, “This was a difficult test because of the weather and we learnt that the Algarve does not always live up to its reputation of good conditions. The rain, and even hailstones, seriously hampered progress during the week.
“For Bridgestone we are confident that there will be sufficient testing for teams before the season starts to enable good, safe, racing. Of course, any test days lost mean that teams have not been able to test their new cars and continue learning about our slick tyres. However we will see several more tests before we visit Albert Park in Australia for the first race of the season.”
Despite the difficulties faced by the tyre supplier, Kobayashi said that he approved of the new course: “The Portimão track is certainly an impressive facility and a challenging circuit to learn for teams and drivers. The track surface is very smooth, just as you would expect of a new facility. At this test the rain did not help with the grip levels, so in terms of gaining data for us to evaluate, we were at a disadvantage.”
Bridgestone’s Potenza Formula One tyres will next been seen in use in Jerez on February 10-13, where six teams are scheduled to test, and in Bahrain on the same dates, where three teams are scheduled to test.