Bridgestone motorsport bosses have claimed that they are confident that they have selected the right tyre compounds for this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix, even if the race proves to be dry.
Last year's return to Fuji was blighted throughout by heavy rain, preventing the rubber company from being able to make a true evaluation of its dry-weather compounds and leaving it a little blind as it returns for a second visit with the Formula One world championship on the line.
Bridgestone has confirmed that it will be taking its medium- and soft-compound Potenza tyres to the revamped venue, which returned to the F1 schedule in place of the much-beloved Suzuka in 2007, as well as the wet and extreme wet options that served it so well last year, when Lewis Hamilton took possibly the most accomplished victory of his young F1 career to open out what seemed to be a commanding lead in the championship standings.
This year, the Briton returns to the circuit, which nestles in the shadow of the Mount Fuji volcano, with a seven-point advantage over Ferrari rival Felipe Massa, but with the experience of seeing a comfortable cushion overturned.
“We have learnt a lot from racing in other racing categories at Fuji, such as Formula Nippon and Super GT, over the years and it is from this knowledge that we chose the Formula One tyre position of the medium and soft tyres from our range," director of motorsport tyre development Hirohide Hamashima said.
"Of course, last season we did not see too much dry running, but we know that the 100R corner will be a challenge for graining on the left front tyre. However, if competitors manage this well we are confident of a strong performance from our tyres.
"There are only two high speed corners - the 100R and 300R - and we will see dry set-ups with low downforce configurations, as the major feature of Fuji is the very long straight, which goes into a slow corner which will mean some interesting overtaking opportunities. The surface is quite smooth, however, so I do not expect problems with wear.
"As we saw last year, the biggest challenge could be the weather and I will certainly be bringing wet weather clothing.”