Tyre-makers frequently look to F1 technology in the development of road car tyres, often using the connection as the unique selling point of their own products. In a reversal of the situation however, it is road tyre technology that will be the secret weapon of the BMW Sauber F1 Team. Bridgestone has adapted winter road tyre designs to create a Snow Tyre suitable for racing in extreme conditions. The result is the Potenza F1 extreme weather tyre; a winter tyre partially inspired by the Bridgestone Noranza studded tyre.
Bridgestone Motorsport has created a special, limited edition, F1 Potenza Snow tyre following a request from the BMW Sauber F1 Team. The F1 Team are set to hold a demonstration at the prestigious White Turf horse racing event held in St. Mortiz, Switzerland, and require special tyres for the extreme Swiss weather conditions that the BMW Sauber F1.06 will have to face.
The F1 Snow Tyres are produced by the Bridgestone Motorsport Technical Centre in Tokyo and come specially adapted with 420 studs on the front tyres and 588 studs on the rear tyres. The studs are manually inserted by Bridgestone technicians, taking over 16 hours of labour time to carefully affix the 2,016 total studs into the double layer of tread compound on a single set of tyres.
The tyre studs, which are formed from tungsten and encased with aluminium, are specially designed to provide enhanced grip on icy and snow-compacted surfaces. Experts anticipate that the Swiss resort of St. Mortiz, where the BMW Sauber will be demonstrated by the F1 team, will be susceptible to the severe conditions for which the Snow Tyres are designed. Recent weather reports have indicated a decrease in temperature, with overnight conditions dropping to approximately minus 15 degrees Celsius in the St. Mortiz resort.