By Alex Kapadia
The Chinese Grand Prix will provide Bridgestone’s tyres with their toughest test yet this weekend as the Formula One circus heads to Shanghai.
Despite the increased weight the tyres have to bear this season, Bridgestone’s rubber has held up with little of the degradation and graining that had been predicted.
However, it could be a different story for the fourth round of the FIA World One World Championship, where the hard and soft compound Potenza tyres will be put through their paces on the ‘severe’ Shanghai International Circuit.
Hirohide Hamashima, director of motorsport tyre development for Bridgestone, warned: “Shanghai International Circuit is severe on tyres.
“There are very high lateral forces and we expect to see graining on the front left tyres, especially caused by the increasing radius turn two and the banked Turn 13. We could also see graining on the rear tyres here too.
“We are a step harder in our allocation for this year compared to 2009 because of the heavier cars and the severity of this track.
“The circuit layout means that a medium downforce set-up will be used, as there are two long straights, but a large percentage of the track is also very twisty and technical.
“For the teams and drivers, finding the correct set-up to make the best use of their tyres will be a big challenge.
“Last year the challenge was the weather, and we saw our wet tyres used for most of the race. It was not the first time we have had wet conditions in China so the sky will be a strong consideration for this weekend.”