Bridgestone has dropped a bombshell on the F1 world by announcing they will not be supplying tires for the championship after 2010. The announcement comes as the F1 season wrapped up its 2009 season in Abu Dhabi.
The tire manufacturer stated that they will continue to support the teams through 2010 but indicated that the current impact of the continuing evolution of the business environment was the lead reason for the departure. Bridgestone also indicated that they were prepared to take their product to the next level in an attempt to maintain their standing as a technological leader. I am not really sure what the next level is, but it would almost seem that they have lost faith in the F1 system. Tires are one of the only things in F1 that really provide road relevance to your everyday street anymore.
Bridgestone was able to secure the role of sole tire supplier a few years back after the “tiregate” that broke the back of the USGP. Bridgestone was able to win 156 of the 223 races it entered while a supplier to F1 teams. This opens a number of possibilities for current suppliers such as Michelin and Pirelli. My hope is that perhaps we can return to the days of tire battles between companies. The Japanese manufacturer stated they would continue to be a partner to the GP2 series and will continue to supply MotoGP until the contract expires in 2011.