After three flyaway races in three different continents, Formula 1 returns to Europe for the San Marino Grand Prix, a race which Bridgestone is determined to see won by a car on its tyres.

Last year at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, five out of the top six cars were on Bridgestone tyres, but not the winning machine. Consequently, Bridgestone's engineers have studied closely the performance of the 2001 tyres and the track to produce what hopefully will be a race-winning specification this time.

The Imola track has hosted the San Marino Grand Prix since 1981 but the circuit itself is this year celebrating its 50th anniversary since opening. The race is an especially important one for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro who are racing on home turf and in front of their dedicated fans, the 'tifosi'.

Hiroshi Yasukawa - Director of Motorsport for Bridgestone - said: "Michael Schumacher winning in Brazil on Bridgestone tyres was very rewarding for all our staff, particularly since the race took place in such hot temperatures. It proved that the work done over the winter was worth it."

"We are aiming to keep the momentum going at Imola, not least so that we can put the 2001 race behind us. Finally, I would like to send our congratulations and best wishes to one of our teams, Sauber Petronas, who are starting their 150th grand prix this weekend."

Bridgestone is taking a brand new specification to Imola that was available in testing last week at Fiorano and Valencia. The second tyre is one of those on which Michael Schumacher has already won this year.

Hisao Suganuma, technical manager of Bridgestone Motorsport, continued: "Even though we had five cars in the top six last year, the tyres we offered for the 2001 San Marino Grand Prix did not perform as well as we expected so we have spent a lot of time analysing their performance to identify why that was the case. In short, the soft specification was too soft and the hard was too hard. We have also looked more closely at the characteristics of the track - the surface, the types of corners and the level of speed - and from that developed a compound and construction that we believe is targeted just right."

The 4.933km (3.065 mile), anti-clockwise Imola track consists of medium-high speed corners, a couple of slow chicanes, and straights that are comparatively short but still allow for speeds over 170mph.

There have been no changes to the track in the last 12 months, other than routine maintenance. Hisao Suganuma added: "There are two main issues of concern at Imola - braking and traction. At this type of stop-and-go circuit with medium and slow corners, good braking and traction are particularly influential on reducing lap times. The surface is quite smooth and wear is not a problem but getting the handling right through the corners and over the kerbs is tricky. Here, the tyres can help by providing high levels of grip and good balance. Because of the need for grip, a softer compound should be better, while the number of stops can be as many as three."