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Bridgestone To Leave Formula One After 2010

Bridgestone To Leave Formula One After 2010

With the 2009 season completed many teams and suppliers are taking the opportunity to make announcements regarding their futures. Earlier today Williams stated that their driver line-up will change for next season (favouring Barrichello and Hulkenberg) and Brawn are expected to reveal their drivers soon. However, one announcement has come as a bit of a shock to all.

Bridgestone, Formula One’s sole tyre supplier, will not continue their involvement in Formula One after the 2010 season. The tyre company said they wish to focus on other developments and technologies, but ultimately it all sounds like a bit of a cop-out.

The decision made by the board of directors comes after considerable and lengthy evaluations and has been based on the company’s need to to redirect its resources towards further intensive development of innovative technologies. Hiroshi Yasukawa, Bridgestone Motorsport Director.

To be honest, the reason given seems a little lame. It could just be the wording they have used, but to me the press release just sounds like an excuse to get out of a costly sport. Sure, Hiroshi Yasukawa did not mention finances, but to suggest that the company wishes to withdraw from a sport that gains them a lot of media attention in order to focus on something they should be doing anyway just sounds silly.

Formula One teams, even the poorest of squads, have several departments working on a variety of projects simultaneously. The 2010 cars would have been started earlier in 2009 while all the time developing the current car. To the teams, it is apparently worth the extra cost to do this. Clearly to Bridgestone, working on more than one or two* things at once is a strain and not worth it.

The Japanese company have supplied Formula One teams with rubber boots since 1997 and in 2007 they became the sport’s sole supplier after Michelin withdrew. Bridgestone will continue their supply to GP2 and GP2 Asia, but Formula One will need to find another supplier for 2011 and onwards.

*Admittedly, Bridgestone probably work on several hundred projects at once, but my point is that Formula One cannot be that much more of a burden to their resources.

This post was written on a PS3, which is kinda tricky and therefore may not be up to the usual standard. My apologies for this and I should be back online properly this weekend.

Oliver White

5 comments

  • Having done some posts on my PDA in the past, I appreciate the difficulties in repurposing machinery primarily designed for different tasks for blogging work. You’ve done a good job with this article.

    One-make racing is rarely good for the make involved because the only publicity is when a tyre fails. Nobody thanks the tyre when they’ve won on it, or wonder out loud what the next development step will be like. So the marketing advantage might not be so great once the inital spike has occurred. Bear in mind that Japan hasn’t done too well in any other part of the sport this year, so one would expect interest to have waned a bit over there and thus less local interest in buying Bridgestones.

  • I think it’s a bit unfair to call this a cop-out. When something no longer makes any business sense, why stick with the model? If they were competing with another tire manufacturer and got their name in the headlines for beating them it might be worth it, but since Max got rid of Michelin, there is no race for them. They seem to be on the ebb-tide of Japanese involvement in F1. It makes total sense. Question is, who will step in? Perhaps a smaller manufacturer?

  • I recall prior to Michelin and most recent Bridgestone , the Goodyear company had a tire promotion that reflected passenger car versions of their famous wet weather “grooved” tire that directly came down the race car to passenger car pipeline. I became a believer and bought them and noticed a big difference from what I had at that time. As an F1 fan and comsumer I bought them because of the positive image of the company and thier product.

    During the 2009 F1 season I also recall seeing what seemed to be at the time a fairly frequent series of Bridgestone adds. With the current state of financial crisis throughout the world maybe Bridgestone is just taking a step back to stay alive.

    Maybe in 2011 we will see the spectacle of TOYO racing slick….

  • Having done some posts on my PDA in the past, I appreciate the difficulties in repurposing machinery primarily designed for different tasks for blogging work. You’ve done a good job with this article.

    Thanks Alia. 🙂

    I think it’s a bit unfair to call this a cop-out. When something no longer makes any business sense, why stick with the model?

    The thing is, Bridgestone haven’t given the business/financial reason as the actual reason for withdrawing. As far as I can tell, they have decided to leave because they want to “redirect resources towards further intensive development of innovtive technologies”. That is why I think it is a cop-out excuse. I do think they don’t want to afford their involvement any more, but instead of saying that, they’ve giving a cop-out reason that ultimately doesn’t make sense in my mind.

    I became a believer [of Goodyear tyres] and bought them and noticed a big difference from what I had at that time. As an F1 fan and comsumer I bought them because of the positive image of the company and thier product.

    I remember that as well. They were stating that what they learned on the race track was influencing what they produce for the average driver on the road.

    During the 2009 F1 season I also recall seeing what seemed to be at the time a fairly frequent series of Bridgestone adds. With the current state of financial crisis throughout the world maybe Bridgestone is just taking a step back to stay alive.

    Yeah, Bridgestone teamed up with Ferrari (or at least an unbranded Ferrari car) and had some ’emotive’ adverts this year and in previous years as well.

    With the current state of financial crisis throughout the world maybe Bridgestone is just taking a step back to stay alive.

    This is what I think as well, but as far as I can tell, that is not what Bridgestone are saying. Which is what I find frustrating.

  • Suprising news for me- I always thought Bridgestone hadd the perfect deal, with no competition and being free to claim all the wins as theirs.

    Now, the big question for me is…what company will step in and replace them? From my understanding Bridgestone was the sole bidder last time the contract went out, and I doubt Michelne/Goodyear/etc.. will be back. So that leaves…who? Whatever company gets the deal will have alot of work to do, and I can’t help but wonder if the quality will be there.

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