By Alex Kapadia
Ferrari have welcomed Hirohide Hamashima, the former director of motorsport tyre development for Bridgestone, to their Formula One team in a bid to help them get to grips with the Pirelli tyres.
Tyres expert Hamashima headed the Bridgestone operation while the company was the sole tyre supplier to the sport before it handed the role to Pirelli last season.
Now Ferrari have harnessed him to their technical line-up for the forthcoming season to strengthen the interaction between the team’s new car and Pirelli’s 2012 tyres, an area in which they struggled last year.
Team boss Stefano Domenicali made the announcement at a ‘Wrooom’ event in the Italian ski resort of Madonna Di Campiglio today.
He revealed that Hamashima will “head up a new project focusing on an in-depth assessment of an area crucial to performance, which is the interaction between the car and its tyres and he will also be our technical link to Pirelli”.
Domenicali added: “He knows the world of tyres. His knowledge is fundamental and we have used this occasion to strengthen our understanding in this area.
“Last year we were not that good in exploiting all the tyres we had in hand, so that is the reason why he has come into the team.”
Hamashima has extensive Formula One experience, having led the development of Bridgestone’s F1 tyres during their time in the sport between 1997 and 2010. The Japanese company worked closely with Ferrari in that period, helping Michael Schumacher to five world titles between 2000 and 2004.