Bridgestone introduce greener wheel weights 23 Aug 2009
Bridgestone have introduced new tin weights for their Formula One and GP2 tyre balancing process from the European Grand Prix onwards. The official tyre supplier previously used weights made of lead, but the tin substitutes are believed to have less of an environmental impact.
"Bridgestone's Environmental Philosophy is to help ensure a healthy environment for current and future generations so we are always looking at ways to reduce our environmental impact, explained Hiroshi Yasukawa, director of Bridgestone Motorsport.
Lead weights have been used in Formula One for many years and offered a good technical solution. However, we now believe that we have a more environmentally sound method with tin weights. We have also changed our processes as well to enable recycling of all the waste weights after they have been used. We are very grateful for the close co-operation of all the teams in assisting us to make this change."
Bridgestone director of motorsport tyre development, Hirohide Hamashima, added: "Even a highly sophisticated Formula One or GP2 tyre and wheel requires balancing as there are subtle variations in the tyre and wheel as well as a valve and sensors connected to the wheel rim.
An unbalanced wheel causes vibrations, making the job for the driver very unpleasant, and even potentially causing problems for components on the car. This means that ensuring the wheel and tyre is balanced correctly is an important consideration for Bridgestone and the teams. We are happy that these new weights offer a good solution."
Bridgestone estimates they use almost a metric tonne (1000 kg) of wheel balance weights over the course of a season. Processes have been put in place to enable the recycling of the new tin weights.
Although this may seem like a small change there are many considerations involved and we have been working closely with our weight supplier and the teams to ensure this development is made, explained James Gresham, Bridgestone Motorsport tyre logistics manager.
"Each team has its own wheel rims and brake and ducting systems, so we had to ensure everyone was happy with the change. Although we only add small amounts of weight to each wheel rim, over the course of a season this adds up to almost a metric tonne, so recycling these weights will be beneficial."