Bridgestone confident of improvement in tyres

Bridgestone are confident they have gone some way to improve the performance of their tyres on the first lap.

Bridgestone are confident they have gone some way to improve the performance of their tyres on the first lap.

While Bridgestone-shod Ferrari have won the first five races of the season, there have been concerns that cars using the Japanese rubber have been struggling for pace on the first lap on new tyres.

Bridgestone have carried out extensive work at Mugello, Fiorano, Silverstone and Paul Ricard with Ferrari and other teams since the Spanish GP in a bid to solve the problem in time for this weekend’s street race in Monte Carlo.

At this circuit more than any other on the F1 calendar, qualifying position and the first lap of the race are crucial with overtaking possibilities virtually non-existent.

Bridgestone’s technical manager Hisao Suganuma said: “We have worked hard to improve our first lap performance as qualifying is of particular importance on a street circuit with limited overtaking opportunities.

“Very soft compounds are also necessary for grip and one lap performance but this can increase the likelihood of graining.

“We need to make sure we do not compromise performance following on from that first lap.

“However, we have been encouraged with our test results so I am looking forward to seeing our tyre performance in Monaco.”

Whether the problem is overcome or not, Bridgestone have fallen short of glory at the Principality in the last two years with rivals Michelin taking the top honours first with David Coulthard in 2002 and then Juan Pablo Montoya last year.

Michelin are in desperate need of a win as they have yet to step on the top spot of the podium this year and their last win was the 2003 Hungarian GP last August..

Michelin boss Pierre Dupasquier said: “This is a race like no other on the F1 schedule – it has a character like no other track and technically it is the complete opposite of the previous race in Barcelona.

“In Spain we ran hard tyres to deal with very abrasive conditions; in Monaco we will use much softer compounds.

“I am looking forward to the weekend and am confident we can complete our hat trick.”

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