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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