Bridgestone Motorsport and Ferrari's Formula One team took another step closer last week as the latter's technical director, Ross Brawn visited Bridgestone's European Technical Centre on the outskirts of Rome.

Whilst not a specific Formula One facility, the visit signified not only the continuously developing relationship between the two companies, but also the increasingly open exchange of technical information. The primary focus of the event, however, was to motivate and further educate Bridgestone's young engineers.

"Today was all about meeting and talking to Bridgestone's engineers and about getting a closer look at the technical facilities here in Rome," Brawn commented, "It is an important visit, not only for our relationship, but also to understand Bridgestone's capabilities. It was a pleasant surprise to see the extent of their technical ability to design, project and control the tyres."

Brawn began his visit by giving an in-depth lecture to a group of forty young and aspiring tyre engineers. This was followed by an open question and answer session which enabled a genuine insight into Ferrari, the world of Formula One and the collaboration between Bridgestone and Ferrari which has resulted in five consecutive constructors' and four consecutive drivers' titles.

In fact, the aptness of the lecture was not lost on Brawn, whose father was a Firestone field engineer for more than twenty-five years. It was due to his father's interest in motorsport that young Ross developed his passion for the sport.

Hosted by the Technical Centre's MD, Alberto Laurenti, and head of tyre development, Franco Annunziato, Brawn was then given a guided tour of the facility The tour encompassed the Flat Trac and simulation facility, chemical laboratory, indoor workshop including the colour data and road profile departments and demonstrations of the rigorous drum testing conducted on Bridgestone's tyres.

Brawn then went on to put his own skills to the test at the wet handling track. Following a few laps in the passenger seat of a Fiat Group car with ex-Formula One driver - and official Bridgestone tyre test driver - Stefano Modena, the Briton put in an admirable and safe performance, before moving on to Bridgestone's new 'proving ground', which is due to be officially opened later this year.

"This was yet further confirmation of the strength of the partnership between Ferrari and Bridgestone," said a delighted Alberto Laurenti, "We have a very strong relationship in Formula One already, but we are also strengthening our collaboration regarding passenger road car projects.

"For us, it was a very positive sign that Mr Brawn took one day of his valuable time to visit the Technical Centre. Not only did he use the visit to see for himself the facilities we have here, but he also gave an extremely insightful lecture to our young engineers and answered many of their very probing questions!

"Listening to him, it is quite evident that Bridgestone and Ferrari are working extremely closely and it proved a tremendous boost to the education and motivation of our next generation of engineering staff.

"And who knows? Perhaps one day our facilities here, alongside our new proving ground, may have a role to play in future collaborations between our two companies."