TOKYO — While Bridgestone Corp. did not win its bid to become the designated race tire supplier to the global Formula 1 racing series, the Japanese tire maker indicated it would pursue other opportunities to "support its sustainable global premium motorsports strategy."
The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) disclosed Oct. 10 it has extended Pirelli Tyre's status as the designated race tire supplier to the FIA's Formula 1, 2 and 3 open-wheel racing series for three more years, through 2027.
While calling Formula 1 the world's "most prestigious global motorsport platform," Bridgestone did not elaborate on what other options it might pursue, other than to say it has "sincerely and continuously" been communicating with the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and Formula One Group (FOG) regarding the next tire tender period for F1, which would come during the 2027 or 2028 seasons.
Bridgestone was an F1 series tire supplier for 13 years in the late 1990s/early 2000s, withdrawing in 2010 in order to "redirect its resources towards the further intensive development of innovative technologies and strategic products that support the tire maker's goals and further enhance its reputation as a technology leader.
In the interim, Bridgestone shifted its marketing resources to being a sponsor of the Olympic Games, both summer and winter, starting in 2014 and running through 2024.
Since ending its F1 engagement in 2010, Bridgestone's primary race activities have focused on its engagement as the designated supplier of Firestone-brand race tires for the IndyCar Series in North America and as a supplier of tires for teams competing in Japan's SuperGT race series.
As for re-engaging now on a broader scale with motorsports, Bridgestone executive Shu Ishibashi said: "Motorsport represents a relentless commitment to the evolution of technology, production, logistics, brand power and talent development to reinforce the foundation of global premium tire business in 60 years of challenges."
Bridgestone announced earlier this year that it intended to return to its origin as a tire manufacturer, with motorsports again playing a more pronounced role.
The company, which first entered racing in 1963, also stressed that motorsports can be a platform to showcase its advanced innovative technology, including sustainability initiatives across the value chain and its ability to customize tires for the wide spectrum of racing series and conditions using its Enliten suite of design and manufacturing technologies.
"Motorsport is a 'challenge for excellence' for Bridgestone and it underpins our mission 'Serving Society with Superior Quality,'" Ishibashi added. "Motorsport represents a relentless commitment to the evolution of technology, production, logistics, brand power, and talent development to reinforce the foundation of global premium tire business in 60 years of challenges."