Formula 1 11 Sep 2005 09:41 am

WilliamsF1 switching to Bridgestone tyres for 2006 and beyond

It was announced overnight that WilliamsF1 will switch from Michelin to Bridgestone tyres for 2006 and beyond.

It’s been clear for some time that Michelin has been supplying more teams than it is comfortable to do, so it comes as no surprise to learn that at least one more team is switching to Bridgestone for 2006: WilliamsF1. But there’s more. The Michelin anouncement also revealed that Toyota, currently using their tyres, won’t be doing so in 2006. Now Toyota hasn’t announced a deal with Bridgestone, but there’s nowhere else to go…

So what does it all mean?

Well, assuming that Bridgestone’s Ferrari bias is overcome (and I’m sure WilliamsF1 wouldn’t sign a Bridgestone contract without some sort of ‘equal treatment’ clause), this could be a pretty smart move for WilliamsF1:
* It’s possible that Michelin will withdraw from Formula 1 in 2007 or 2008 (the rule-makers are veering towards a single tyre supplier approach, and Michelin doesn’t support this), so WilliamsF1 may ‘get the jump’ on it’s competitors by switching early.
* Looks to me like further confirmation of Toyota (Lexus-branded?) engines for WilliamsF1 in 2007. With Toyota (apparently) switching to Bridgestone for 2006 and beyond, there is much to be gained from common tyre use across the Toyota-engined teams.

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