Bridgestone anticipate that tyre durability will improve throughout the weekend in Korea as the newly laid tarmac on the Yeongham circuit becomes cleaner and the track surface evolves.
Speaking after a Friday practice session where drivers initially found the track extremely slippery and teams struggled with graining on both tyre compounds, Hirohide Hamashima, the Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development, said that lap times should continue to improve as the weekend goes on.
“Today was significant as after much speculation we finally started the Grand Prix weekend at this fantastic new Formula 1 venue,” said Hamashima. “As expected, the track surface started exceptionally slippery but we saw a phenomenal amount of track surface evolution through today's sessions. The first lap of the day was over 2minutes 20 seconds, the last one was more than 42 seconds faster than that. I believe there is still potential for further track improvement tomorrow, especially if the weather remains dry and warm like today.”
When asked how he expected the teams to use their allocations of hard and soft tyres, Hamashima said that it was difficult to predict at this stage of the weekend. “This is a tricky question and I don't think we can give a definitive answer,” he explained. “We saw a lot of graining on both compounds front and rear today. This is related to the dirty surface as the tyres cannot grip the tarmac properly. This situation should continue to improve with the track surface evolution tomorrow.
“We expect that the option tyre should give a faster lap time and if the surface continues to improve it should have reasonable durability. How much durability depends on the track surface evolution so this will be the crucial question for the next two days.”