The Bridgestone Corporation has been presented with a John Bolster Award in recognition of its technical achievements in F1, just weeks after completing its final season in the top flight.
Bridgestone's director of motorsport, Hiroshi Yasukawa, was present to collect the accolade, named after the original technical editor of Autosport
, at the magazine's annual awards ceremony in London on Sunday night, having spearheaded the F1 programme alongside director of motorsport tyre development Hirohide Hamashima over the past 14 years.
“I am greatly honoured to receive this award on behalf of Bridgestone Corporation," Yasukawa, who became a part of Bridgestone's motorsport division in 1976, commented later, "When I first joined Bridgestone in 1972, it was my greatest desire to see Bridgestone become a technological leader through the field of motorsport, and for us to become an internationally respected and well known brand around the globe."
Bridgestone first entered F1 as a full-time tyre supplier in 1997 and, in its 14 years of participation, recorded eleven drivers' and constructors' titles on its Potenza tyres. The company participated in 242 grands prix and seen 168 pole positions and 170 fastest laps taken on its tyres. A total of 700,000 F1 tyres were produced during Bridgestone's 14 years and, despite having things all its own way in recent years, enjoyed the intensity of both competition with rivals - between 1997-1998 and 2001-2006 - as well as the responsibility and honour of being a sole supplier.
“On behalf of Bridgestone,I would like to thank the motor racing community for recognising our passion for technical excellence and our desire to ensure that we provided tyres which were safe, as well as capable of performing at the pinnacle of motor racing," Yasukawa continued, "We would also like to thank the many individuals, teams and companies who have supported our motor racing activities. Without them, we could not have achieved our goals.”
World championship-winning team principal Christian Horner presented the trophy in front of more than a thousand international motor racing industry professionals, competitors and special guests who were gathered for the annual gala evening.
Bridgestone will hand over the F1 reins to Pirelli from 2011.