By David Shaw, ERJ staff
Brussels -- Bridgestone has said it will discontinue the manufacture of GP2 series racing tyres at its Rome technical centre in the wake of its decision to withdraw from the GP2 racing series. The company said it has not yet made its intentions clear for the remaining infrastructure associated with its activities in Formula 1 and GP2, but expects to do so in thecoming weeks.
A Bridgestone spokesman said, "The facility for producing GP2 tyres is a small one, among our pilot plant facility in the Technology Centre, the space or capacity that it occupies can easily be reused in our R&D operations."
Asked about claims by Pirelli that Pirelli's sponsorship of F1 can be cost-neutral, the spokesman said, "I would be very interested to know how Pirelli arrive at a cost neutral situation. A large part of the cost relates to how the involvement is leveraged, so I don't know what Pirelli is planning. We have never publicly announced the total cost of our F1 campaign but I believe it is higher than [external estimates of] $100 million."
Asked about the legacy of F1 within Bridgestonek the spokesman noted, "In the early years we gained a huge increase in our unaided brand awareness world wide as the world's F1 fans got to know and understand Bridgestone."
He concluded, Bridgestone is left with, "50 tyre plants worldwide and 137 non tyre plants and a global net sales turnover of 2,900,000,000,000 yen in 2010 with growth in 2011."