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Toyota on Bridgestones for 2006 11 Nov 2005

Ricardo Zonta (BRA) Toyota Test Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, United States Grand Prix, Practice Day, Indianapolis, USA, 17 June 2005

Japanese team join Williams in switching from Michelin

The Toyota Formula One team will be using Bridgestone rubber when they resume testing in Spain later this month after signing a multi-year agreement with the Japanese tyre supplier.

"It is a pleasure to announce that Toyota Motorsport and Bridgestone Motorsport have joined forces,” said Toyota team principal, Tsutomu Tomita. “I am sure that our two companies will share a fruitful and mutually beneficial relationship over the coming years in Formula One.”

Toyota have run Michelin tyres since their Formula One debut in 2002 and this season enjoyed their best campaign to date, while Bridgestone struggled to get to grips with the single set of tyres per race rule. However, with tyre changes returning next season and Michelin expressing doubts over their continued participation in the sport, Toyota believe the time is good for a change.

“After a rather successful 2005 season, our sights are now set even higher up the grid and we feel that Bridgestone is ideally suited to the technical demands of F1 in the future and will be the best match for our 2006 car,” added Tomita. “Toyota is serious about winning in Formula One and we feel that the switch to Bridgestone tyres is the best option in the medium-long term."

Speaking of his delight at the new agreement, Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Bridgestone Motorsport, commented: “Our two companies have had strong motorsport ties for many years in GT racing in Japan and in IRL in the United States, producing many champions together. We are extremely proud to now extend that relationship to our Formula One race programmes.

“Bridgestone and Toyota have high expectations for the coming seasons and we look forward to a close technical partnership which will see us move forward together to achieve our respective goals.”

With Williams also switching from Michelin to Bridgestone for 2006, next year’s grid should be a pretty even split between the two tyre manufacturers - Renault, McLaren, BAR, Red Bull and BMW on Michelins; Ferrari, Toyota, Williams, Midland, Squadra Toro Rosso and possibly Super Aguri on Bridgestones.

Toyota Racing's first test on Bridgestone tyres will begin at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona on November 29.