• Nov 3rd 2009 at 6:59AM
  • 10

Bridgestone has participated in Formula One since 1997 and has acted as the sole official tire supplier to the entire series for the past two seasons. But at the end of next year, its contract with the FIA and Formula One Management will expire, and the Japanese rubber company has announced that it does not intend to renew.

The withdrawal of Bridgestone means that F1 will need to look to another tire company to supply high-tech rubber to the growing grid of racers in the series. While the series could go back to the way it was a few years ago with different tire companies supplying different teams, they're more likely to seek out a single official replacement for Bridgestone, which meanwhile continues its participation in the GP2 series and in MotoGP as official tire partner. Details in the press release after the jump.

[Source: Bridgestone | Image: Robert Cianflone/Getty]

Bridgestone to Cease Tire Supply to the FIA Formula One World Championship

Tokyo (November 2, 2009) - Bridgestone Corporation (Bridgestone) today announced that it will not enter into a new tire supply contract with the FIA Formula One World Championship (F1) series; the current contract is set to expire at the end of the 2010 season.

In addressing the impact of the continuing evolution of the business environment on its decision, the company focused on the need to redirect its resources towards the further intensive development of those innovative technologies and strategic products which support the company's goals and further enhance the company's reputation as a technology leader.

Over the years, the company has benefited directly from its involvement in Formula One racing. The lessons learned through Bridgestone's successful participation have translated into innovations that can be applied to the design and manufacture of tires. In addition, its collaboration with F1 has contributed to increased brand awareness and the recognition of Bridgestone as a leader in the global tire industry. Having achieved these goals, Bridgestone is now poised to take its technological and brand building efforts to the next level.

Bridgestone is committed to supporting F1 and the series' teams through the completion of the 2010 season. The company also expressed its sincere appreciation and gratitude to the management of Formula One, the F1 teams and support staff, and the F1 fans around the world for their enthusiasm and support for Bridgestone over the last 13 years.

Bridgestone Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo, is the world's largest tire and rubber company. In addition to tires for use in a wide variety of applications, it manufactures a broad range of diversified products, which include industrial rubber and chemical products and sporting goods. Its products are sold in over 150 nations and territories around the world.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yeah!!!! lester is right, there is going to be star tire wars
      • 5 Years Ago
      I am not a fan of tire wars at all. Tires have proven to have a decisive element in F1 performance, and a team's success should not be determined based on whether or not it chose the correct tire manufacturer at the beginning of the season. If there is going to be more than one tire supplier, it should be handled the same way brakes are now: Each team can choose from all the suppliers and change at any time.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Oh it's worse than that... 5 engines now that BMW is dropping out (Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault, Toyota, and Cosworth).
        • 5 Years Ago
        I can agree with that, but I doubt those tire companies are going to want to throw sponsorship dollars at everyteam. In the end I think its up to the teams to be conscienous of who the pick for rubber and to be proactive and involved with that company to develop a tire. Bridgestone isnt the only one with tire data, the teams have decades worth of modern tire data and experience to know what compounds should work.

        I understand the cost savings and logistics though, so if it stays with a single tire company I can still deal with it, but I'd still like to see some form of multiple varible between the teams now that refueling is removed and the field will be comprised of spec engines in large part (6 engine manufacturers between 20+ cars).
        • 5 Years Ago
        Tire wars have been magnified in part because of the strict FIA regulations elsewhere, be it engine displacement, ground effects, etc. Since so many other performance elements have been restricted, race teams have looked toward tires to better their lap times.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is good news so long as F1 picks up multiple tire providers to bring tire wars back to the race since they're removing all of the fuel stratedgy.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Couldn't agree more - while the innovations in F1 never tire (pun intended) for me, adding another layer of complexity just makes it that much more fun.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Exactly my point. In the 2010 season the FIA has removed fuel stratedgy for F1 by requiring teams to race with a single fill up. There will be no refueling during the race, so in race fuel stratedgy is gone with the exception of, will I or wont I run out of fuel and is my fuel map better than his fuel map. Pitting for fuel has become a big player in F1 fuel stratedgy and the race results and to take that away is going to shake things up a lot.
        • 5 Years Ago
        As long as pit stops are needed for refueling (not to mention F1s rules about starting the race with the fuel you finished qualifying with) there will always be fuel strategy in racing.
        • 5 Years Ago
        D'oh...that show you how much attention I've been paying to F1.