By Alex Kapadia
Bridgestone have revealed the fresh challenges they face supplying tyres for the 2010 Formula One season.
At the end of the season the Japanese tyres manufacturer will pull out of the sport due to the recession.
However, their final year promises to present exciting new challenges.
Hirohide Hamashima, director of motorsport tyre development for Bridgestone, said: “For 2010 we will have a narrower front tyre. This will help to bring a better grip balance between the front and the rear grip of the cars.
“When we changed back to slick tyres the grooved tyre size was retained, meaning that the front gained proportionally more grip than the rear. This is addressed by making the front tyre narrower.”
Hamashima also reflected on the impact the new no-refuelling rule will have on tyre development.
He said: “The cars will be around 100kg heavier at the start of a race so the tyre needs to be stronger. However, when you consider that the downforce acting on a car can be as much as 2000kg an extra 100kg is not so much of a change for us in terms of our tyre compounds and construction.
“For competitors the omission of refuelling will add another challenge and I expect we will see an evolution of race strategies through the season as everyone begins to understand what works best.
“Drivers will have to use their tyre management skills at the beginning of the race, especially at the start, when the cars are heaviest and the tyres at their coolest.