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Tyre wear presents no problem in Australia 07 Mar 2005

Ferrari mechanic marks tyres.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 3 March 2005

Fears that the new 2005 tyre regulations could see drivers struggling to complete the Australian Grand Prix proved unfounded in Sunday’s race, with both Michelin and Bridgestone reporting positive results after 57 laps of Melbourne's Albert Park circuit.

This season drivers must use just one set of tyres for both qualifying sessions and the race, and some had predicted a large decline in tyre performance towards the end of the Grand Prix. However, this did not prove to be the case.

"We came to Australia envisaging all kinds of situations that might arise because of the latest regulations, but everything has run smoothly,” said Michelin motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier, after Renault finished first and third on the French company’s rubber.

“We had no tyre wear problems at all. The temperatures were cooler than expected, so we had quite a margin to play with – it was clear from Giancarlo Fisichella's performance in the closing stages of the race, when he set his fastest lap, that he had been pacing himself very comfortably.”

Bridgestone were similarly happy with their performance after Rubens Barrichello came from 11th on the grid to finish second for Ferrari, the Brazilian stating afterwards that his tyres could even have run another race distance.

“It really proves that the development direction we have taken is the correct one,” said Hisao Suganuma, Bridgestone Motorsport’s technical manager. “The tyre performed well for both Ferrari cars and kept its performance from beginning to end. We've had no problems with the tyres which is very encouraging for future races.”

In fact, the performance of both company’s tyres proved so consistent throughout the race that several team engineers suggested that perhaps they had been overly conservative in their selection of compound.

"The new rules are very demanding on tyres, but we couldn't have asked for more than Michelin gave us today,” commented Pat Symonds, Renault’s executive director of engineering. “Our Michelin tyres were fantastic and consistent, the wear rates were well under control and our cars' balance hardly changed from start to finish."

Ross Brawn, Ferrari’s technical director, added: “I'm looking forward to getting the new car but what was encouraging was that the Bridgestone tyres held up very well, they were excellent today and we could probably have been a little more aggressive in our choice."

Tyres will face a sterner test at the next round in Malaysia where track temperatures around the Sepang circuit are likely to be much higher than those experienced in Melbourne.