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Bridgestone denies espionage

BRIDGESTONE has rejected claims that Benetton switched from Goodyear to the Japanese tire-manufacturer taking with it all the very latest data on Goodyear's 1998 rubber. The claims were made by disgruntled former Benetton driver Jean Alesi. Goodyear sources say that Benetton returned all the data and Bridgestone's chief engineer in F1 Hirohide Hamashima told pressmen in Barcelona that Benetton and McLaren have "entirely respected the confidentiality required by their 1997 contracts" and added that: "We have not been given any of our rival's data."

While Bridgestone tires have looked strong for most of the winter the arrival of the new Goodyear rubber at last week's Barcelona test suggests that the tire war will be closely fought in the course of the coming season.

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