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.