A Bridgestone tyres executive paid a warm tribute to Silverstone, which will host its last British Grand Prix this weekend.
With its motorsport base just 75 miles down the road in Langley, the Bridgestone tyres team will turn up in force Sunday’s race.
Silverstone was one of the European venues that Bridgestone visited early in its motorsport history.
Hirohide Hamashima, director or motorsport tyre development for the Japanese firm, said: “Silverstone is an interesting circuit and it’s one that holds many memories for me.”
He added: “We have a lot of experience of the Silverstone circuit.
“I first visited the track in 1981 with the Formula Two championship and that’s when we first recognised Silverstone as a severe circuit for tyres.”
Silverstone is also a favourite with many fans. “Before our F1 entry I can remember when Nigel Mansell won at Silverstone,” says Hamashima. “There were all these shouts of ‘Nigel! Nigel! Nigel!
“This had a big impact on me, seeing all these British spectators cheering their hero, and it left a lasting impression.”
Not only does the circuit itself present a challenge, the British weather often plays a part too.
“In terms of our technical development we learnt a lot about the benefits of a good intermediate tyre from our time at this track,” states Hamashima.
“The weather here can be very variable so you can have a track which is drying from a downpour and these conditions are good for intermediate tyre use.”
Last year’s British Grand Prix was a case in point. Wet and variable weather meant that only Bridgestone’s wet and intermediate tyres were used.
“In Silverstone last year we saw Lewis Hamilton win by over a minute,” says Hamashima. “It was a race that showed just how important tyre choice can be.”
“It is a classic circuit with long straights and high speed corners. This makes it a fantastic place, not only for the driver, but also for the tyre designer.”
Silverstone is a circuit with a rich motor sport history. The British Grand Prix has been on the Formula One calendar since the world championship began in 1950, and it has been held at Silverstone 42 times.
Next years British Grand Prix will be held at Donington Park in Northamptonshire.
Alex Kapadia, Operations Team