Hirohide Hamashima - Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tire Development
What are the challenges of Monaco?
"Finding grip will be the main challenge on the streets of Monte Carlo. This is a very interesting circuit, and one where the track is made of many different types of surface as well as there being public road markings on the track. Also notable is that F1 does not run on Friday, so the track conditions can change quite a lot between Thursday and Saturday. When there is no racing taking place, public vehicles and also people use the track. This makes it difficult for rubber to build up and the surface can become dirty again, which does not help the track surface develop well for racing."
How different is the new intermediate tire?
"The new intermediate tire gives more grip through having a softer compound than the old one, but driving the latest specification F1 cars in the wet will always be a challenge, no matter what tires are used. The latest cars have less downforce so less aerodynamic grip than before, and this is true in wet or dry conditions.
"In the dry, less downforce is not as much of a problem as the slick tires have more grip than the previous grooved tires, so there is more mechanical grip to counter the loss of aerodynamic grip. In the wet, even with our new intermediate tires, there is only slightly more grip than before. In the wet we still need the drainage channels in the tread to prevent aquaplaning, so the only grip improvement must come from new compound developments."