Bridgestone has revealed that it will ignore its new-for-2009 policy of providing a bigger gap between the compounds of its two tyre options when it gets to the Monaco Grand Prix next month.
The policy was introduced, along with the return of slicks, in an effort to bring a more strategic element to grand prix racing and, despite some criticism over the supersoft option, has largely achieved its aim. However, the unique nature of the Monaco street circuit has forced a rethink - and the decision to provide the more closely-matched soft and supersoft compounds.
"There is a change to our allocation philosophy due to the unique characteristics of this smooth and slippery track," director of motorsport tyre development Hirohide Hamashima confirmed, "This means we will bring the supersoft and soft tyres, which are next to each other in terms of softness, and also both from our low temperature working range family."
Bridgestone will also debut a new compound of intermediate rain tyre in Monaco, which will then be used for the rest of the season. This new compound is softer than previously used, and is designed to counter some of the aerodynamic grip lost in wet conditions due to the change in the cars' aero packages for 2009.
"Our new intermediate tyre compound will debut in Monaco and we will use this for the rest of the season," Hamashima confirmed, "It is a softer compound and will allow
more mechanical grip, however the lower downforce from the latest cars means that it is still more of a challenge driving in the wet than before.
“Our allocations for the next four races, from Monaco onwards, are based on the data we have collected so far this season, and the extensive knowledge we have of the race venues we visit, but it has been interesting watching the teams and drivers develop their knowledge of how to use our latest tyres and there is still much to learn.”
After Monaco, Bridgestone will revert to the three-race old policy of providing a greater step in compound, with the Turkish and British grands prix both utilising the soft and hard versions, while the German round, this year at the Nurburgring, will see the supersoft and medium compounds back in action.