Nov 2, 2009

Bridgestone to leave F1 after next season

It was known since July that the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix would be the last race for BMW in Formula One.

Hours after the chequered flag flew in Abu Dhabi, Bridgestone Motorsport announced it too would be leaving F1.

“It is with deep regret that Bridgestone Motorsport confirms that at 10 a.m. (Japan standard time) today, the Bridgestone Corp. announced its decision to not enter into a new tire supply contract with the FIA Formula One World Championship series,” Hiroshi Yasukawa, director of Bridgestone Motorsport, said in a statement.

“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.”

Bridgestone’s contract is set to expire at the end of the 2010 season. What will happen after that is anybody’s guess.

Michelin left F1 after not even bidding on the sole supplier contract that made Bridgestone the exclusive rubber provider in the sport beginning last year. At the time, Michelin said competition was necessary for it to remain involved.

Goodyear has looked into F1 a couple of times in the past few years and always stayed away. They are not likely to return. Besides, they have NASCAR.

Remember that several other companies, such as ING, have also announced their exit from the sport.

With Bridgestone now joining the pack on the way out the door, it wouldn’t be too outlandish to wonder if more companies might decide to forgo F1 too.

It may be an interesting few months for F1.

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