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Bridgestone to celebrate 200th appearance in Valencia 20 Aug 2008

Hirohide Hamashima (JPN) Bridgestone Technical Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Race Day, Fuji Speedway, Fuji, Japan, Sunday, 30 September 2007 Bridgestone tyre engineer takes a track temperature reading.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 25 April 2008

This weekend’s European Grand Prix, hosted on the new street circuit at Valencia, will mark Bridgestone’s 200th Formula One race appearance. The Japanese company made its debut 11 years ago at the 1997 Australian round and their tyres have been used at every Grand Prix since.

"When we entered Formula One in 1997 all of the circuits were new to us with F1 cars so it is fitting that we should celebrate our 200th race with a new track,” said Hirohide Hamashima, director of Bridgestone Motorsport tyre development. “Valencia is a city we spend a lot of time in when we are testing at the permanent race circuit so to be able to race along the streets of the port will be particularly special for us."

With the Spanish track only recently completed, however, the European race presents a real challenge for Formula One racing’s official tyre supplier. And to prepare for the Grand Prix, Bridgestone have worked closely with the teams, using data from their track simulations, to predict grip and abrasion levels.

“We have evaluated the track layout and surface and we will bring the softest tyres in our compound range, the soft and super soft,” added Hamashima. “This is a street course with many corners, although we expect quite high speeds to be attained over the course of a lap.

“As with any street course we expect the grip levels from the circuit to improve over the course of the weekend. In Valencia in August we should see quite high temperatures so teams will have to be vigilant with their tyre management. As we have not raced here previously this should be a learning process for everyone involved, and strategy decisions over the race weekend will be interesting.”

Since making their Formula One debut, Bridgestone-shod cars have clinched 125 pole positions, 127 fastest laps and 132 victories.