Bridgestone intends to stay in MotoGP despite its impending Formula 1 exit, but does not plan to commit to a long-term contract yet and would welcome rival suppliers.
The Japanese tire company has been MotoGP's sole supplier since the start of the control rubber era in 2009, and is in year two of a three-season deal. Bridgestone's motorcycle racing tire development boss Hiroshi Yamada expects an initial one-year extension and hopes to convince the company hierarchy to commit for longer.
"Our contract expires at the end of 2011," he told Motosprint. "I've been thinking about this for a while, I'd like to negotiate at least for 2012."
When asked why Bridgestone was not looking for a longer-term arrangement, Yamaha replied: "We haven't made a decision yet – the financial situation is still bad, but I think we'll carry on and, at the moment, I'm trying to convince the top management that we should stay."
Yamada added that while he understood the logic of control tires, he would be pleased to see a renewed tire war, and believes it would be economically feasible under the more restrictive rules introduced in recent years.
"From a sport's point of view I think it's shown its validity, because the tire factor was too important before," he said of the control tire rule. "It's better for the riders now. But, personally, I see sport as a confrontation, so this aspect has gone missing. I used to enjoy working to win by beating the others, while now we win by beating no one."
"Anyone who wants to participate would be welcome for me. Obviously, we'd have to keep the current rules, because they allow us to keep costs under control. The supply would have to remain unchanged: 18 tires per rider per weekend. And a limited number of tires in winter testing. Going back to the situation we reached in 2008 would be unthinkable."
He also acknowledged that Bridgestone's departure from F1 could free up money for its MotoGP program, but admitted he would prefer to see Bridgestone staying in both championships.
"Obviously, we'd have more money to spend, because the F1 budget is very high, but in my opinion we should stay in F1, too, because our image would lose a lot otherwise," said Yamada.