By Alex Kapadia
Bridgestone tyres are pleased with the outcome of the final pre-season group test before the start of the 2010 Formula One season in Bahrain next month.
Eleven teams put all four compounds of Bridgestone’s dry tyres range through their paces during the extensive mileage covered at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona.
Hirohide Hamashima, director of motorsport tyre development for Bridgestone, said: “The major change of the narrow front tyre is working well and has made a positive change to car grip balance.
“Teams have made good progress despite the limited dry running this month. Our objective of improving the warm-up of all of the dry compounds has been achieved and the tyres are working well with the new, heavier cars.”
He added: “After a lot of rain in Jerez it was good to get dry running here. The first test in Valencia was also dry, however with only seven teams there was a limited amount of data.
“If Valencia had been the only dry test, then there would be a lot still to learn in Bahrain. Of course, in Barcelona the weather was not perfect. The first day the track was green so it wasn’t until the second day that we had a good amount of rubber laid. There was rain on the third day, which didn’t help, but overall this final test was very valuable.”
“All four compounds were tested here in Barcelona. Considering the temperatures because of the time of year, we have seen performance in line with our predictions.
“This week has been a good validation of the good work of our development engineers in Japan. The super soft is a bit too soft for this severe circuit, but there have been good test results with this tyre here.
“The soft tyre was used for the majority of running and we’ve seen some very long runs with this tyre as teams evaluate strategy options for the latest rules. The medium and hard compounds have also given good results.”
He said that pitstop strategies will be crucial for 2010. “Because there is no refuelling the teams will be looking very carefully at pitstop strategies,” he said.
‘We could see longer stint lengths than we have seen recently, and the tyre constructions and compounds have been modified to suit.
‘Of course, for those qualifying in the top ten there is the added consideration of having to start the race on the same tyres which were used for qualifying.
“It will be interesting to see how this works in practice in the first races.”