Bridgestone and Michelin both 2003 winners 13 Oct 2003
Bridgestone ended a difficult season on a high in Japan, winning not only the race with Rubens Barrichello, but also the 2003 drivers' and constructors' titles, courtesy of Michael Schumacher and Ferrari.
However, Michelin refused to be downhearted, safe in the knowledge that they had, in terms of points at least, comfortably outperformed their Japanese rivals over the course of the 2003 season.
"We might not have won today's race but we can leave Japan with our heads held high," said Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin Motorsport Director, after Sunday's season finale.
"Two of our leading cars were eliminated from the race for technical reasons and two more were effectively sidelined yesterday, when a rain shower ruined their qualifying session and consigned them to the back row of the grid. Suzuka wasn't our strongest track last season, but we definitely had the upper hand in terms of tyre performance this weekend."
Michelin were also quick to point out the 2003 season statistics, which show that while Bridgestone took more wins (nine to Michelin's seven), the French company racked up 408 points to their rivals' 216, finishing on the podium 30 times from a possible 48.
"Our target is to supply our partners with tyres that provide the best performance in the discipline," added Dupasquier. "The fact we have come close to winning both world titles delights me, because our partners have scored points off each other throughout the campaign."
For Bridgestone, winning both titles brought a satisfactory ending to what has been a difficult season for the Japanese manufacturer, who many in the paddock blamed for Ferrari's lack of form mid-season.
"We are delighted to see Rubens take this victory at the final round of the championship at our home circuit," said Hisao Suganuma, Bridgestone Motorsport's Technical Manager at Suzuka.
"It was a crucial factor in Michael taking this year's Drivers' Championship title. Michael very much deserved his sixth world championship title. It was a tough race for him today with several incidents but his extraordinary talent shone through."