Bridgestone’s green tyre hypocrisy

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Those green rings will be making a return on slick tyres this year

A little over a month ago I wrote an article called Four crucial things F1 fans must be told during races in 2009.

Today Bridgestone has announced how it will distinguish between its different types of tyres, which was one of the four things on that list:

The method of distinguishing between the two compounds on event will be through means of green bands painted on the edges of the tyre sidewalls of the softer tyres at a race. This marking allows the compounds to be visually distinguishable by fans at the circuit and those watching on television. The green colour has been chosen to show Bridgestone’s continued support of the FIA’s Make Cars Green campaign.

This is good news: fans won’t be in the dark about which driver is using which tyres, as happened at the start of 2007.

But painting the tyres green to show some vague sign of “support” for efforts to improve the efficiency of cars is lamentable greenwash – just as it was when it first used them at Fuji last year.

It is blatant hypocrisy from Bridgestone. If they hadn’t pushed for a rule effectively making it compulsory for drivers to change tyres during a race, not only would the distinction between compounds be unnecessary, but the cars could do the entire race difference on a single set of rubber (as they did in 2005) saving hundreds of tyres. That would be a genuine contribution to making F1 less wasteful. This is just window-dressing.

Whatever you think of using F1 as a means of promoting environmental awareness and developing green technologies, I can’t see how either side of the debate can be happy with Bridgestone’s green tyres.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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38 comments on “Bridgestone’s green tyre hypocrisy”

  1. Bridgestone, and it’s subsidiary Firestone have such a lousy record of environmental, safety, and child labour standards that they were given the Public Eye award for Worst Global Corporation in 2007. Painting their tires green isn’t going to squat to improve their reputation or practices. Hypocrisy indeed. I wonder how much fuel is burned transporting 60,000 tires from Japan.

    1. Great post, Keith.

      By the way, they announced their compound allocation to the first five races.

      Considering how this was important to races outcome last year, we should keep an eye on it:

  2. Oh, I forgot:

    Tyre compounds for the 2009 season:

    Melbourne: Super Soft, Medium
    Sepang: Soft, Hard
    Shanghai: Super Soft, Medium
    Sakhir: Super Soft, Medium
    Barcelona: Soft, Hard

    1. Hadn’t realised you’d posted that here, have just done a separate piece on it! Thanks anyway :-)

      Tyre compounds for first five races of 2009

  3. They could have at least chosen a more neutral colour, such as white. The green stripes looked awful on the cars in Fuji, and I’m sure they will do this year too.

    Hopefully Bridgestone change it when they realise how silly they look, and how silly they’re being.

  4. Showing off green credentials to the world just attracts attention to you and invites criticism because if you are claiming to be green someone will always claim you should be doing more.

    Given the rather obvious fact that although F1 can try to be green, in many respects it may never be, I rather tend to take the view that it should not draw attention to “green” issues but instead work on them quietly in the background, so that when people ask “how green can F1 be?” there is a pre-prepared and lengthy answer saying X, Y and Z.

  5. Because some of the cars just don’t look stupid enough.

    1. In fairness, at least the outer green rings are less aesthetically intrusive than the white stripe or those stupid green grooves they at Fuji.

    2. Ain’t the Renault gonna look lovely on softs? :)

    3. I was mostly thinking of the poor Renaults :)

  6. This is indeed a pathetic greenwash. Did nobody tell them that the last time they painted them green, we could hardly see it on television. I guess white would have been to logical and obvious…

  7. Personally I dont get the go-green for motorsport, by definition motorsport just isnt green. Pointless :-/ Love the post :)

  8. Would be interesting to just let the teams paint the sidewalls of their soft tyres in whatever colour they’d like :)

    Even better would be to get rid of this contrived two compounds rule altogether and let the teams choose what they want to run after FP3 which used to be the case.

    Both just go to show how desperate Bridgestone want people to talk about their tyres even if they are the only tyre supplier.

  9. pseudohendrix
    27th February 2009, 0:20

    I reckon the softer options should be white-walled, give them a bit of a 1950s Corvette look…

  10. Q: what are the ingredients of the green paint?

    A: lead, mercury, uranium, dolphin tears, panda squeezings, several pages of da vinci’s original notes, and a lollipop stolen from a little girl.

    1. @F1Yankee

      Brilliant stuff… i’d rate you up…

      @ Keith
      Hey, may be we could have rating system for comments. What say you???

      It never ceases to surprise me… Once again, it is a great blog mate…

      Bridgestone is just making itself look pretty bad… We have enough rule changes killing the sport already, we do not need corporate interference to speed up the process :P

    2. I had thought about that, at the moment I’m working on making sure the site doesn’t have any errors and we stop having these crashes.

  11. i love that!

    “The green colour has been chosen to show Bridgestone’s continued support of the FIA’s Make Cars Green campaign.”

    It’s like saying, “i’ll be using 1 candle in my bedroom to save the world’s energy crisis”…

    how’s stupid is that? if you want to save the world, save it. But be intelligent, and don’t say things like that. Who in the whole world thinks F1 is greener?… No one, teams wasting money, burning fuel, developing faster and faster…

    They wanted to reduce costs, they introduced a new really complicated KERS system, which wastes that effort. They wanted to be greener, they burned loads of fuel at Q3, with the rule: “you burn, we give” to give “excitement”…

    they want to go green and they paint a little (syntetic of cours) green line at every soft tyre… Loook’s like Jeremy Clarkson is doing the job.

  12. Totally agree Keith, just Bridgestone marketing gone wrong. At any race, when one peers into the pits area, the first thing you notice apart from the cars are the huge number of tyres. The money invested in just the tyres must be gigantic, never mind the logistics involved in carting them around the world.
    If F1 is as serious as everybody suggests about saving money and making the sport more attractive to new investors, then scrapping tyre changes along with
    refuelling will be a good idea for 2010. Maybe not so much for Bridgestone though!
    The 2005 season provided some spectacular moments with the one tyre set only rule, namely Raikkonen’s untimely front suspension failure in Germany due to a flat
    spotted right front.
    This would give the drivers hard on their tyres, namely Hamilton, something to think about. I love watching the drivers perform on tyres that are graining.
    Robert Kubica’s performance at Fuji last year was spellbinding, as he kept Raikkonen at bay whilst
    struggling with his graining Bridgestones.

  13. Well having more tyres means more money Bridgestone. Plus, they’ll make extra by selling off old tires to recycling plants. I don’t know if the teams return the tyres to Bridgestone or get rid of them by themselves, either way, somebody is making money off old tyres.

    There’s a big market for used tyres these days.

  14. everything is political when you’re dealing with this level of publicity.

  15. It seems illogical that F1 fans need to have the tyres marked anyway. What’s next, see through carbon-fibre so we can all know how much fuel the F1 cars are carrying?

    1. I welcome anything that makes the sport more transparent and easier to understand. If the tyres weren’t marked we’d have less of a chance of knowing what was going on – for example, when Sato made that famous pass on Alonso we wouldn’t know that was largely down to their tyres.

  16. I don’t find it illogical, it helps with transparency of F1 and teams tactics…

  17. They they had more than one tyre manufacturer, then none of this would even have happened. I’d like to see it to that teams can run with tyres made by whoever they want, like they’ve done in the past, with Goodyear battling Michelin, Pirelli, Dunlop, and even some Avons thrown in there.

    1. Totally agree… Competition between tyre suppliers is what you need, not a stupid green line on the tyres…

      (BTW I’m not against the line on the tyre as a way of marking them, but it would be nice if the teams’ could choose a colour to suit their livery – the only car that green would work on is last year’s Honda)

    2. @ajokay
      I second the motion…

      Mr. Mosley, i think it is the time for you to say…

    3. I understand why people want lots of tyre manufacturers in the sport but once you allow it cornering speeds will go through the roof, causing all kinds of complications for safety, cost of competition and the quality of the racing. If having one tyre supplier means we get to keep slicks and have close racing then it’s a necessary evil.

  18. its not just the tyre situation thats just plain crazy its most of the rules and changes in f1 this year and for many years,Its about time bernie and mosely crawled back under the rock from which they came.

  19. I agree completely with the article.

    What idiot thought that painting a green stripe on a tyre with such a short life span to promote green issues would be a good idea? Also Fuji proved that the green stripes were harder to see than the white stripes, and as others have pointed out the green stripes don’t work in the looks department either.

    I can’t think of any reasons why they should have the green stripes.

  20. the renaults are going to look like mish mashed dog food using the softer tyres.

    at least they’re not hypocrites like bridgestone

    i don’t think racing in particular will be green. they can try, but i never imagined having f1, motogp, rally cars, nascar, to have solar panels charging their kers, they still use fuel, and even if this fuel is blended with ethanol. its still not “green”

    1. I really am stunned the teams have allowed this – there are few liveries on the grid this isn’t going to cause a horrendous clash with.

  21. I’m happy with green paint on the tyres, but let’s face it, B/S aren’t going to change things just to suit us – after all, we’re only the mugs.

  22. Yorricksfriend
    28th February 2009, 3:05

    Surely the green wont be on the surface of the tyres? It’ll rub off in a few laps and it looks hideous – seriously I’d rather be in the dark about what tyre a driver is using than having to look at that!

    1. Yorricksfriend
      28th February 2009, 3:13

      Here I missed the word ‘sidewalls’ my bad, still

  23. Indeed, everyone seems to be making an effort to “go green” today, and there are so many other things these companies can do to send that message. The color isn’t going to look very good on the cars, so I am not very eager to see it roll out on the grid.

    Just one thing Keith- if the cars are allowed to use just one set of tires, after refuling is banned in 2010, would there be any reason for cars to pit during a race? I’m not the biggest fan of pit starategy but I think it dose add something to a race.

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