Bridgestone revealed that they think Albert Park will provide the teams with tough tyre strategy calls this weekend, as the difference between prime and option tyre wear should be much greater than it was in Bahrain.
The sole tyre supplier to Formula 1 is bringing its hard and soft compounds to the temporary track which should be harsher on tyres than the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain. The high downforce requirements when cornering lead to high lateral forces which means high levels of energy and heat dispersed through the tyres.
Hirohide Hamashima, the Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development outlines the challenges the team will face in Melbourne. “As we saw last season, Albert Park can present many challenges. This is the first race of the season held on a non-permanent circuit. We expect to see a lot of track improvement over the course of the weekend, which makes finding a good set-up difficult. The track evolution is also an important factor when deciding which tyre strategy to use. We have moved our allocations a step harder for this season, which should mean tyre management is not as challenging as in 2009.
“Melbourne is very severe for graining and even bringing this harder allocation, competitors have to take care of tyre setup. We think the performance difference between prime and option will be bigger than it was in Bahrain. Also, you can never be certain of the Melbourne weather, so a lot of time will be spent looking at the skies.”
Hiroshima Yasukawa, the Director of Bridgestone Motorsport, is looking forward to the grand prix weekend. “It is always a pleasure to visit Australia, which is a very important market for Bridgestone. The people of Melbourne always give us a great welcome and the Australian Grand Prix gains substantial attention all around the world.”