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Bridgestone goes green // The F1 tyre supplier bring back the environmental initiative

Published by Christine

This article was originally written for BellaOnline, but is republished here for posterity.

Back at the Japanese Grand Prix 2008, we saw the introduction of green paint on the Bridgestone tyre. Last year, to distinguish between the hard and soft compound, the centre groove of each soft tyre was painted with a white stripe. To raise awareness of the FIA's "Make Cars Green" campaign, the white stripe was joined by green stripes in the other grooves for one race only.

As a fan, it was confusing, and generally it was not a good choice.

With the introduction of slick tyres, Bridgestone have been looking for ways to rehouse the stripe that would have gone in the groove. They have decided to place a stripe on the inside and outside of each tyre - on the sidewall. They have also decided that the stripe shouldn't be white, that it should be green.

So far, I haven't seen anyone suggesting this is a good idea - it doesn't look good by itself, and can only serve to detract from each team's livery. I suppose it is yet another thing we will get used to, but once again, this doesn't seem like a popular decision by Bridgestone.

The other difference between the 2008 and 2009 set of tyres, is that each race weekend will see a change in compounds combinations. Instead of adjacent compounds, there will be a gap in choice. For example, there are four compounds: hard, medium, soft and super-soft. Last year in Melbourne, Bridgestone brought the medium and soft tyres - two compounds adjacent to each other. For 2009, they will be bringing the medium and super-soft tyres - widening the gap between the compounds.

This should make the difference in tyres more pronounced. A driver has to run both sets of tyres over the course of a race, and has a limited number of each during the weekend. Tyre decision is crucial, especially when the softer compound heats up quickly, delivers a fast lap, but does not last long. The harder compound takes longer to warm up, but is more durable.

The changes are yet another thing the teams will have to think about this season, although the change to slick tyres is probably foremost in their minds, rather than a choice of white or green paint.