Bridgestone pleased with slick tyre progress

Bridgestone used this week’s Barcelona test to complete their second major evaluation of the 2009-specification slick tyres which could be adopted next season in place of the current grooved rubber. It follows their first test in Jerez last December.

Bridgestone brought three slick compounds to the Circuit de Catalunya, each team receiving a total of nine sets. In line with proposed 2009 regulations, the tyres were used without tyre warmers and, for the most part, on cars running reduced downforce levels.

“Running with the slick tyres has been interesting and we are also happy with their performance,” reported Tetsuro Kobayashi, Bridgestone Motorsport’s technical manager. "We have accumulated good data for analysis from the four days here. This data will be processed and investigated carefully to evaluate our next steps.”

Kobayashi also played down fears that getting the cold slicks up to temperature without tyre warmers could present a safety issue. “The situation of warm-up with these tyres is much improved as we look to the future with no tyre blankets," he said.

The teams will get their next chance to sample Bridgestone’s latest slick developments in around three months’ time, but Kobayashi believes the men at the wheel have already had a pretty good glimpse of the future.

“The drivers now have a greater understanding of driving Formula One cars with slick tyres to the 2009 regulations with lower levels of downforce and no tyre blankets,” he added. “We should all expect to see more progress next time we test slicks, which is planned for the Jerez test in July.”