Valencia won’t be wacky…Super-soft tires it is!

Yesterday I ran an opinion piece about the AUTOSPORT story regarding Bridgestone’s desire to use the Super-soft compound for the remaining races as it “spiced up” the Canadian Grand Prix. Today I am writing an opinion piece based upon AUTOSPORT’S story regarding Bridgestone’s Hirohide Hamashima saying that Valencia won’t be as chaotic as Canada with the Super-soft tires.

So first Hamashima says that using the Super-soft tire added tremendously to the spectacle at Canada and that barring safety issues, they’d like to use them at the remaining races to “spice up” the action. Then we have Hamashima saying that the desire will fall short of a redux of Canada at the European Grand Prix in Valencia next weekend because the circuit is harder on tires and generates more heat (the lack of heat in the tires was labeled as the cause for the advanced tire degradation in Canada).

“The layout and track surface is more aggressive to the tyres than in Montreal so we do not expect the same challenge for teams to get maximum performance from the medium and super soft compounds as in Canada.

“This year’s European Grand Prix takes place in June, as opposed to the late August date of the first two Grands Prix in Valencia but we don’t believe the date change will present us with radically different weather.”

The mad dash to create some artificial competition and spicey racing through compromised tire design is apparently, as the AUTOSPORT article said yesterday, purely dependent on the circuit. Fair enough, I think we can all grasp that concept but what I am failing to grasp is the missing logic that had Bridgestone determining the correct compounds to bring that suited each track based on empirical data harvested over a decade in the sport.

As you may recall, Bridgestone would announce the compounds that it will bring to each race based on current construction parameters and this was based on the track surface, projected temperatures etc. It was to be the best compounds for the teams and provide the most reliable and fair tire across the grid. The operative word here must be “construction”. I assume now they are constructing a different characteristic in the Super-soft compound to provide a tire they can use at the remaining races and based upon that compound, Valencia will not suffer from the advanced degradation that Canada displayed.

If I’m honest, I do feel for Bridgestone. As a company who is leaving the sport, it must be difficult to keep the enthusiasm focused when asked to create a tire that doesn’t perform as well as it could. You’re being asked to compromise the integrity of your brand message in order to fix F1’s lack of excitement. I have to applaud Hirohide Hamashima for his willingness to play along and attempt to reach an agreement with the powers that be but Bridgestone makes a hell of a tire and to purposefully bring tires that experience advanced degradation has to be a difficult concept for a company who has always prided themselves on making a product that lasts and performs.

As much as I disdain the notion of an alternate compound strategy, I can’t blame Bridgestone. I know they make great product and have it on my car now. It seems to me that F1 would throw Bridgestone a few extra quid for their compliance and potentially sacrificing their brand impression and message but that’s just me talking.

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