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Bridgestone happy with tire regs

BRIDGESTONE are breathing a sigh of relief after winning a long-running battle to keep the F1 tire rules from changing when Michelin enter the sport in 2001.

The company's Motorsport Director, Hiroshi Yasukawa commented: "We're very happy that the tire regulations have remained the same - it is exactly what we were hoping for."

With Michelin joining the sport next year, a tire war is brewing - and Bridgestone believe that Michelin's demands for a change in the regulations had ulterior motives.

"Michelin were pushing for the regulations to change," says Yasukawa. "Because they wanted to compete against us on a level playing field. At the moment we are at an advantage over them and a change in the regulations would have been the most obvious way to counteract that.

"We have already been working with grooved tires for three years which means that we have more experience in this area over other tire manufacturers.

"If the regulations had changed significantly then it would have meant that we were more or less starting from scratch and would have been on a completely even level with Michelin when they arrive."

The French company had been seeking reassurance that tire wear and post-race groove depth will be suitably controlled by the FIA. They were concerned that with both tire manufacturers developing super soft tires, it may be possible to wear the grooves off the tires quickly and leave cars running on slicks.

However, Rule 81 in the FIA Sporting Regulations states: 'The FIA reserve the right to introduce at any time a method of measuring remaining groove depth if performance appears to be enhanced by high wear or by the use of tires which are worn so that the grooves are no longer visible.' The governing body believes this will cover any potential problems.

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