Bridgestone Motorsport will have the support of hundreds of Bridgestone employees next week as the Formula One circus gathers in Suzuka for the final round of the FIA Formula One World Championship.

After the highs and lows of an extremely competitive and emotional year, Bridgestone's tyre engineers have pulled out all the stops to provide its teams with the best tyres it can.

Reigning champions Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro and Michael Schumacher are on the verge of defending their constructors' and drivers' titles whilst fellow Bridgestone supplied teams Sauber Petronas and Lucky Strike BAR Honda will both be battling for that coveted fifth place championship position. Pride and reputations are at stake next weekend and all that remains is for the players to take their places on stage for the final time this year.

"The US Grand Prix produced some great results for Bridgestone Motorsport and its teams," said Hiroshi Yasukawa, director of motorsport, "Not only did our wet tyres prove dominant in the difficult conditions but the fastest lap of the race was also set by Michael Schumacher on our Bridgestone dry tyres - an excellent all round performance.

"It was especially pleasing to see Sauber take points whilst BAR showed their future potential when Jenson Button led the race for 15 laps. The result has provided us with the perfect springboard for the final round in Japan. This season has been one of the best in recent years for Formula 1 and it seems only right that both titles should be decided at the very final round.

"Bridgestone, for our part, have put every effort into ensuring that our teams enjoy success at Suzuka. Being our home round, I also know our staff will draw huge encouragement from the support of the local fans as well as the large contingent of Bridgestone employees who will be present to watch us in action."

The 5.807km Suzuka circuit has been modified since 2002. The famous 130R section, in particular, has been changed. Bridgestone's tyres will be required to be balanced and to provide good performance when changing direction. This will be especially important through the "S" Curves, making all the difference to lap times. Bridgestone will be sending approximately 1,400 tyres direct from its F1 production factory in Tokyo, comprising of eight different dry weather specifications, one wet weather and one extreme weather specification.

Hisao Suganuma, technical manager of Bridgestone Motorsport commented: "Our dry weather specifications will be from the mid-hard range of our compounds as Suzuka is one of the toughest rounds on the calendar for tyres. The abrasive surface and several mid to high speed corners mean that we can expect to see high degradation rates. A strong tyre is consequently needed to cope with the high loads placed on the tyres. This also explains why teams tend to choose two or three stop strategies.

"As for the weather in Suzuka, well, you never know what to expect there so we shall be prepared for all eventualities. With so much at stake for our teams and Ferrari in particular, we have worked extremely hard in the build up to Japan. I'm expecting the Bridgestone teams to be highly competitive and we hope that together, we will finish the season on a high note in front of our home crowd."



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