Source : www.planetf1.com
Bridgestone have announced that they are to withdraw from Formula One at the end of the 2010 season, citing the need to redirect resources.
Bridgestone entered F1 in 1997 and had been the sole supplier since Michelin withdrew at the end of the 2006 Championship. The Japanese manufacturer has claimed 156 wins in their 223 grands prix.
However, the company's association with Formula One will reach its conclusion next season with Bridgestone Motorsport director Hiroshi Yasukawa announcing their departure.
"It is with deep regret that Bridgestone Motorsport confirms that at 10.00am Sunday, the Bridgestone Corporation announced its decision to not enter into a new tyre supply contract with the FIA Formula One World Championship series," Yasukawa said in a statement.
"The current contract is set to expire at the end of the 2010 season. The decision made by the Board of Directors of Bridgestone comes after considerable and lengthy evaluations and has been based on the company's need to redirect its resources towards the further intensive development of innovative technologies and strategic products.
"While we understand and respect the reasons for this decision, it has nevertheless come as a great disappointment. Bridgestone's relationship with the FIA Formula One World Championship stretches beyond being a tyre supplier. Formula One has been of strategic importance to Bridgestone in developing its technologies, raising the company's brand awareness and providing its strategic business units around the globe with promotional and marketing tools that are intrinsically linked to our company's core products.
"It was a great honour for Bridgestone to be awarded the 2008-2010 contract as Official Tyre Supplier by the Fédération International de L'Automobile (FIA) to the pinnacle of single-seater racing and we would like to thank them for their continued support and for entrusting us with this privileged role which has seen us working at the heart of the Formula One community.
"Our sincere appreciation is also extended to Mr Bernie Ecclestone and Formula One Management, the Formula One teams with whom it has been an honour to have worked alongside, and the many Formula One fans who have followed our activities over the past 13 years.
"I would also like to thank the staff of the Bridgestone Motorsport team for their professionalism, dedication and hard work, and for their passion for excellence. It remains only to reiterate that Bridgestone continues to be wholly committed to the provision of safe tyres of the highest quality to the FIA Formula One World Championship in 2010 and to the running of its tyre servicing operation at the highest level."