The pressure is on Bridgestone

Bridgestone goes to Imola this weekend with a 100% record in 2005. The tyres have failed to win all three races so far this year. And that means that the pressure is on the Japanese tyre company to come up with tyres to compete with the best that Michelin has to offer. The tyre regulations for this year meant that the tyre companies had to start design and build tyres that would last for an entire race and Michelin's designs have proved to be better, even in Melbourne where the temperatures were unseasonally low. The confusion however comes from the fact that in Australia Ferrari was using the old F2004M design and so it is difficult to know whether the new car on 2005 rubber will be competitive at lower temperatures. Testing has given few indications. The question is not necessarily whether the tyres will be quick over one lap in qualifying but rather whether they will stay together for an entire race at competitive speeds. In Bahrain Michael Schumacher was quick at the start of the race but by the end Rubens Barrichello could do little to defend himself from the Michelin users.

Bridgestone's director of motorsport Hiroshi Yasukawa is looking on the bright side.

"We do believe that the Ferrari-Bridgestone package is growing stronger each day and there is also a huge amount of potential yet to come," he said. "Our technical personnel have been working hard with our teams in the past couple of weeks and we fully expect to see a competitive performance from them this weekend."

The Japanese reckon that the Ferraris will be competitive at the weekend.

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