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Bridgestone is taking no chances

BRIDGESTONE will produce a special new tire for the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis, because teams are worried that the existing products will not be able to cope with the loadings on the banked Turn 1 which will be the final corner on the Formula 1 circuit at Indianapolis. The teams were worried that the banked turn and the long main straight - on which speeds are expected to reach 215mph will make it impossible for the current tires to survive.

Bridgestone cannot afford any publicity disasters at the Speedway in the light of the recent problems in the United States with its sister company Firestone's tire failures on sports utility vehicles. The company has recalled over six million of its tires and has agreed to reimburse customers who decide to switch to rival brands.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has received reports of at least 62 deaths linked to failures of Bridgestone and Firestone tires. The recall will take until next Spring because of the shortage of tires and so has agreed to let customers buy rival brands to speed up the process.

There are currently plans for a fullscale congressional hearing on the problem.

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