Bridgestone give winter-testing verdict 12 Dec 2003
With pre-Christmas winter testing now complete, Bridgestone, tyre suppliers to Ferrari, Sauber, Jordan and Minardi, have reported positive progress in their preparations for 2004. The Japanese company have spent the last three weeks working on all areas of development (construction, compound and shape) and specifically ensuring they are heading in the right direction before stepping up the pace of the programme in January.
Bridgestone Motorsport's Technical Manager Hisao Suganuma commented: "We have spent the past three tests basically establishing our development path, which will act as the baseline for our 2004 campaign. We haven't specifically been chasing top lap times - that will come at the next stage. However, we have gathered some very interesting and promising information over the past few weeks with particular regard to constructions and shapes. We'll continue to refine these findings from January onwards.
"From a technical point of view, these specifications are quite different from our previous tyres. Obviously we knew our designers back in Japan had been working hard to come up with some new and original concepts prior to the start of winter testing and it's been great to finally test what they came up with. We'll continue to evaluate their performance in the New Year so that they can be used during next year's races.
"We also undertook some important compound evaluation tests but our main compound development programme will actually start in January using the information gathered at Barcelona, Jerez and Vallelunga. On top of that, we had a lot of rain, especially in Jerez, which gave us plenty of opportunity to try our next generation of wet weather specs.
Suganuma concluded: "All in all, every one of our teams has work well, including those drivers who have only recently had their first taste of F1. And despite the bad weather, we have come away with some positive feedback and narrowed down the candidates for our future race specs."
Bridgestone's winter testing season commenced with Ferrari in action in Barcelona alongside Sauber from November 25 - 27 where mixed weather conditions enabled constructive dry and wet-weather testing. The teams then moved down to the south of Spain to a rain-blighted Jerez where Ferrari were joined from December 3 - 5 by Jordan. Jordan was then replaced by the Sauber team in the second week of testing which finished yesterday, December 11. The Minardi team, meanwhile, concentrated their testing efforts this week at the Italian circuit of Vallelunga.
Bridgestone and their teams will be back in action in the New Year. The next large test, with Ferrari, Sauber and Jordan all present, is provisionally scheduled for January 19 - 23 at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona.