NOVEMBER 2, 1998
How to stop teams testing
WE understand that having failed to convince teams to restrict testing Bernie Ecclestone has discovered that Bridgestone is keen to keep down the number of tires needed next year and would like to stop the level of testing which currently exists. We believe that Ecclestone and Bridgestone have come up with a plan to supply tires free of charge to all the teams in exchange for them agreeing to reduce testing dramatically.
The plan will not be popular with the teams but in part the plan appears to have been conceived as a way to encourage teams to try to convince other tire manufacturers to enter F1 in competition to Bridgestone. The Japanese company is desperate to have a rival so that tires remain high profile. Ecclestone is keen on a tire war as it increases the variables in the sport and makes it much more interesting.
We understand that the proposal calls for teams to be supplied with only three sets of tires per day and that testing will be restricted to three-day sessions at nominated circuits to stop the current situation which sees teams going to different places. That creates a logistical nightmare for the tire companies. We understand that Bridgestone is developing a computer chip which will be implanted in the tires and that this will mean that they can be rigorously controlled with no tires being allowed to be used at more than one test. If the plan goes ahead there will be only three three-day tests in January and February. During the racing season the intention is for there to be two-day tests after each Grand Prix but with only one set a day available per car.
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