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Bridgestone Motorsport press conference

NEWS STORY
22/04/2005

Ross and Hisao, what have you learned about one another's products, or your own products, in the first three races of the year?

Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport: We did a lot of testing in the winter time. Then in the first round the tyre performance wasn't too bad, because Rubens started in 11th place, and finished second. So it was not too bad. Suddenly in Malaysia and Bahrain, the tyre didn't perform well. We understand that we have room to improve, so we are doing our best efforts to cover that area.

Ross Brawn, Technical Director, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro: I think the rule change has not been in our favour. I don't think they ever are in our favour, despite what people think. But anyway in this particular case we've had some difficulty with the onerace tyre. Let's say our concept of car and concept of tyre had not been correct for the one-race tyre, and we've been caught out, and in Malaysia and Bahrain we suffered. We're beginning to change the concept of the car, the concept of the tyre, to move much more to what we now understand we need as a one-race tyre. And that will take a little time. I think you have to have the stomach for a tyre war. It's a tough battle. Sometimes you look like heroes, and sometimes you don't. And that's the way it is, you have to live with that. We're not looking like heroes at the moment, but we'll come out of it. I've got every faith in our partners at Bridgestone and they've got faith in us. It's just a tough time at the moment. It's very interesting for Formula 1.

What can you do to help the one-race tyre? Obviously Ferrari can do a certain amount and Bridgestone can change certain things. Give us an idea of what you can change.

RB: The way you use the tyre, it's unrealistic to expect Bridgestone to turn a magic switch and solve the problem. We've got to find solutions for the car as well. For sure if we have more power and more downforce the car handles better and it uses the tyres better. As I say it's unrealistic to expect these guys [Bridgestone] to turn the switch, and the problem's solved. We've got to have a better car. We've got to improve the handling, we've got to have more power, we've got to have more downforce. All the things that make a good racing car, the more we can go in that direction, the less we'll test the tyre. And also the drivers can then manage the situation, because they have some, let's say, spare capacity to handle the situation. That's what we need to create. At the same time Hisao and his colleagues need to make the same progress with the tyres. But it won't be an overnight change, it'll be step-by-step, and it'll be a hard slog.

Hisao, what can Bridgestone do?

HS: Of course the first thing we have to learn from the previous two races is what was wrong with the tyres. And from this make some points to improve, and then try to concentrate to improve that area. Actually the thing is there are two aspects to improve those points, let's say less tyre wear and keep the performance, or even wear and keep the performance. Those are the two approaches. Then we think about which is best. I can't tell really, we'll adapt to each way and do our best. I think this weekend you'll see some answers.

This weekend you've got a new rear construction, haven't you?

HS: Yes, I hope that works well.

Is that part of the plan?

HS: Yes, we learned from the previous races, and this week's tyre is one of the answers from us. How has it gone so far?

HS: If I look at the lap time that Michael did at the end of the second session, it was quite encouraging, he could make a good pace and a quite competitive lap time. And he could continue with the same level of lap time. So I feel quite good.

Do you feel the same way, Ross?

RB: I think the consistency was very good today. As we've seen in the past the track can change over the days, and how you look on Friday does not always translate to what you find on Sunday in the race. I think today was very encouraging. Naturally we have two compounds of tyre, and one of them is quicker on the first lap and a little less consistent. The other one is the opposite. Tonight we've got to have a look at all the wear figures in detail and make a decision on what sort of tyres to take through to Sunday. It looked OK today. Obviously what we want is the consistency of the hard tyre and the one lap of the soft tyre, and life would look much better! Which of course is what we're trying to achieve with Bridgestone, we're trying to achieve the optimum of both. In this case for qualifying you need a tyre which is able to put in one lap, and when it's done that it then has to remain consistent and perform for the race. It's finding that balance between the two. I don't think we're very far off. In this business it's all about tiny percentages. It looks OK, and if it translates into Sunday, we're in good shape.

Ross, can you explain how it works on a Friday - can you give us some idea of how you set-up the two sessions, and how you approach them?

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