News and views on motorsports

Monday, August 18, 2003

Bridgestone Crisis

At the start of the 2003, the season looked a repeat of year 2002. Michelin, having excellent hot weather performance and absolutely horrific wet / cool weather characteristics and the opposite for Bridgestone. Certainly, I was one of those who were absolutely vicious in my remarks against the French tire concern for the dumbfounding characteristics of their produce.

Well, I am happy to say that the scales are now tipped the other way and Michelin now has a superior tire that is benefitting their teams particulary the top teams like Williams, McLaren and Renault. All kudos to these guys who have provided the feedback and helped Michelin gain their current advantage. It must have been hard last year to see the Bridgestone boys particulary that red coloured one flying off into the distance.

The teams' patience have now been rewarded. Thanks in no small part to the efforts of McLaren and Williams who actually share testing data together with Michelin in tire development. The two excellent British ITV commentators made the astute comment that when Michelin have a good day they have 3 teams that can take points off Ferrari. Whereas when Bridgestone are having a good day they have to battle out those same 3 teams.

Unlike Bridgestone, who concentrate on Ferrari to the relative exclusion of everyone else, Michelin have produced a tire that seem to suit all their top runners. As Malaysians would say padan muka! Roughly translated, Bridgestone deserve all the hard luck they can get.

They did forget that it was McLaren that won them their first world title. McLaren it was that battled that won the 1998 world championship against the Goodyear shod Ferraris. When Goodyear left Bridgestone fell all over themselves to support Ferrari in 1999 making such fact very public.

Of course when Michelin joined the fray, Bridgestone decided to support their most glamourous and highest profile team Ferrari. OK and to be honest they looked the btetter team at that point. McLaren very wisely decided to go for Michelin and for more equal treatment. Bridgestone to me are a bunch of bastards. Loyalty zero. I mean I appreciate that Formula 1 is big business these days and these guys want to milk such successes and all. But Formula 1 is also sport. And somehow to treat McLaren the way they did isn't very sporting at all.

So, to Michelin I say if Ferrari want your tires show them the middle finger and tell them to stick their heads up their asses. If they get their lapdogs at the FIA or Bernie to make a noise then let them pay for it. And forget all that bullshit about exclusive engineers stationed with them like they have with Bridgestone.

If the Bridgestone tires are underperforming then Ferrari ought to suffer along with them. Both these highly political organisations ought to have their faces rubbed deep in the mud. And hopefully if and when Goodyear returns to Formula 1 they'll be snapped up by McLaren instead.

Sadly, I know this is hardly going to happen what with all the big business floating around Formula 1 these days. But it certainly is a persons right to dream.

No comments: