Departing F1 tyre-supplier Bridgestone has generously offered to help out successor Pirelli by way of advice and engineers – as Force India ace Adrian Sutil warned of what would likely be a 'challenging' transition year ahead for the Milan-based manufacturer.
Pirelli will rejoin the grand prix grid in 2011 for the first time in precisely two decades, after Bridgestone made the surprise announcement late last year that it would be withdrawing at the end of the 2010 campaign – and now the Japanese marque has pledged to share the wealth of experience that it has gained over the past 14 seasons, should its Italian rival be keen to listen.
“We had the advantage that we could enter step-by-step, because Goodyear was still there,” Bridgestone director of motorsport tyre development Hirohide Hamashima is quoted as having said by Etyres.co.uk
, reflecting on his company's arrival in the top flight back in 1997. “First we had only one top team, then two and so on. For Pirelli it's different, because they immediately have to equip the entire field, which will be very difficult.
“So far Pirelli has not asked for advice, because engineers are very proud, especially when it comes to the competition – but if Pirelli would like to make use of some of our employees, it would be our pleasure. We have built up very good contacts with the teams and I would not want there to be a big confusion. The transition of Bridgestone to Pirelli should run as smoothly as is possible.”
Whilst initial tyre-testing of the 2011 PZero compounds by experienced former BMW-Sauber star and Mercedes Grand Prix reserve driver Nick Heidfeld has yielded some promising results and data [see separate story – click here
], Sutil contends that to begin with at least, teething troubles may be inevitable.
“I see it being a challenging year,” the 27-year-old German told Spox.com
. “It's understandable that as a new tyre manufacturer, you need to collect your experience. It's going to be one or two years until Pirelli supplies the perfect tyre, but it's the same for everyone, so everyone has to cope with the situation. That makes it exciting.”