NOVEMBER 2, 2009
Bridgestone to quit F1 after 2010
Bridgestone is to leave Formula 1 at the end of next year.
"The decision made by the Board of Directors of Bridgestone comes after considerable and lengthy evaluations and has been based on the company‚Äôs need to redirect its resources towards the further intensive development of innovative technologies and strategic products," a statement said. "While we understand and respect the reasons for this decision, it has nevertheless come as a great disappointment. Bridgestone's relationship with the FIA Formula 1 World Championship stretches beyond being a tyre supplier. Formula 1 has been of strategic importance to Bridgestone in developing its technologies, raising the company's brand awareness and providing its strategic business units around the globe with promotional and marketing tools that are intrinsically linked to our company‚Äôs core products."
Bridgestone was the official tyre supplier for the World Championship between 2008-2010.
"Our sincere appreciation is also extended to Mr Bernie Ecclestone and Formula One Management, the Formula 1 teams with whom it has been an honour to have worked alongside, and the many Formula 1 fans who have followed our activities over the past 13 years. I would also like to thank the staff of the Bridgestone Motorsport team for their professionalism, dedication and hard work, and for their passion for excellence.
"It remains only to reiterate that Bridgestone continues to be wholly committed to the provision of safe tyres of the highest quality to the FIA Formula One World Championship in 2010 and to the running of its tyre servicing operation at the highest level."
The problem for Bernie Ecclestone is that he needs to find a new supplier. Goodyear is not likely to return (unless the price is right); Michelin owes F1 no favours after what happened a few years ago. Pehaps we will see a smaller organization (Kumnho perhaps?) taking over the deal...
Alas, this may well be the first of several such decisions. The economic problems that the world has faced have had an effect and some organisations have been waiting until the end of the year to make their announcements.
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