Bridgestone’s new tyres for the 2010 Forumula One season are likely to create a more balanced approach to tyre usage, according to a leading racing journalist
A new refuelling ban could create a different challenge because the cars will be 100kg heavier at the start – so they must have enough fuel to complete the distance.
This means the first-stint tyres will need to be stronger, according to award winning sports journalist Will Gray.
This is what he has to say on the subject: “As Bridgestone have said that there will be “not so much of a change” in terms of their tyre compounds and construction, it will be even more down to the drivers to manage their wear in a heavy car on cool tyres and teams to pick the right tyre strategy.
“There is one fundamentally influential factor, however, that will change for 2010 which could affect car design – and that is the size of the front tyres.
“When grooved tyres were introduced many years ago, the front tyres were widened to cope with the reduced contact patch and ensure the grip balance between front and rear remained consistent.
“Instead of reverting to narrower tyres when slicks returned in 2009, however, the front tyres remained the same size and that gave the fronts more grip relative to the rears, creating a tendency to over-steer.
“Bridgestone modified the rear tyre construction to move the relative grip balance between front and rear further rearwards and counter the over-steer, but with limited testing (80 per cent of testing was done in laboratories this year) there was not much change that could be made.
“To cope with this unusual grip balance, the weight balance of the cars between front and rear had to be changed, creating a very unique weight balance in 2009.
“One of the reasons Brawn came out ahead (in addition to the double diffuser design) was that they got the weight balance right for the tyres that were used, while both McLaren and Red Bull had to make suspension changes mid-season to overcome the issue.
“Lessons learned, next year will see a move to a smaller front tyre, which is expected to bring the grip balance further forward again and that will mean a different weight distribution for 2010.
“All the teams, of course, have long known the front tyre reduction will be coming for 2010 – but it could be another factor that gives those who anticipated it correctly a jump-start at the beginning of the year.”
Alex Kapadia, Operations Team