Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Barcelona, 2011

Ferrari recruit top Bridgestone tyre technician

2012 F1 season

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Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Barcelona, 2011
Tyre warm-up was a persistent problem for Ferrari last year

Ferrari has recruited former Bridgestone technical director Hirohide Hamashima to improve its understanding of tyre performance.

Ferrari suffered persistent problems getting the harder of Pirelli’s tyre compounds to work with its car in 2011.

Hamashima oversaw Bridgestone’s supply of tyres in F1 until the manufacturer left at the end of 2010. He will report to technical director Pat Fry along with another new hiring, Steve Clark.

Clark, who takes the role of track engineer, joins the team from Mercedes.

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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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50 comments on “Ferrari recruit top Bridgestone tyre technician”

  1. Can I be the first to suggest a conspiracy?


  2. I am actually amazed this is the first we hear about something like this.

  3. What are they trying to achieve here? A better understanding of their tyres and how the car uses them, sure … but Hamashima was working on the Bridgestones two years ago, and the current Pirellis behave completely differently. In order to be of any use whatsoever, Hamashima would first have to understand the Pirelli compounds, then he would have to understand the car, and then he would have to understand both together – and all before he can be of any use to Ferrari. I’m sure the long-term benefits will be fantastic. But in the short term? I don’t see any easy solutions presenting themselves.

    1. It’s how it starts though isn’t it, signing up lots of talents in various areas, hoping it all comes together in the long term. Ferrari are reassembling a “dream team” once again, they have the best driver signed up, have nicked some key personel from Mclaren and now they will reap the long term benefits their new tyre expert will bring to the team.

      Mercedes have been doing this over the last year: got the driver signed up, and have brought in some big name designers , in order to build a team that can be succesful.

    2. Are you a tire engineer? What can you understand about tire engineering? I’m sure he has a method to analyze something about tire matching…and Ferrari employed him. That mean…he is worth takeing on as a Ferrari engineer!!!
      Well…I just wonder that he will quit BS?

    3. Ferrari had problems understanding the tyres… They bring in someone who has had years of deep understanding about how they work?… I don’t see the problem to be honest.

      Good move by Ferrari I think.

      1. Agree. A good tyre analyst is a good tyre analyst. The same way a good driver is a good driver.. irrespective if which team he drove for earlier

    4. I think you underestimate the level of technical information the teams receive from the tyre manufacturer regarding construction and compound and all that stuff is just a light bed time read for an engineer of Hamashima Sans calibre.

      Mclaren made the same move of hiring a former Bridgestone engineer towards the end of 2010 in readiness for the tyre switch over and arguably had the best tyre management of the field relative to their own car performance.

      This should help Ferrari a lot and quickly. Tyres are one of the few components the teams can get a handle on relatively quickly. Look at the durability of the Pirelli’s at the beginning of the season compared with the end and that’s all down to teams fin tuning their cars to get more out of them.

      1. ↑ that’s right

      2. @coefficient…’Look at the durability of the Pirelli’s at the beginning of the season compared with the end and that’s all down to teams fin tuning their cars to get more out of them.’

        Agreed but I also thought Pirelli started to make their tires a little less soft too. I might be wrong. It can always be said that some tracks are more abrasive than others and carry different configurations that load up the tires to the extreme at certain corners of the car at certain corners of some tracks.

        1. No, Pirelli only changed the Soft compound for a couple if races as I recall. They tyres were as announced pre season the majority of the time.

        2. @Robbie No, @coefficient is right. Other than in Brazil; and the seldom raced hard compound; the tyre compounds stayed exactly the same from the start of the year to the finish.

    5. For years, Ferrari had Bridgestone in its back pocket and during alot of that time, the entire Bridgestone F1 team was geared specifically towards making the compounds for Ferrari’s car. Therefore, it is likely that Ferrari didn’t have a strong in house tire expert as most of this work was performed by Bridgestone, and my guess is Hirohide was one of those people. Acquiring someone who would fill this role was quite a smart from my viewpoint and will likely pay off quickly, expecially once testing gets upderway and data on any tire compound changes can be gathered.

      Also, you would be amazed at how quickly an engineer that is focused in a field can get a specific issue under control.

    6. @Prisoner Monkeys…agreed that in the short term it probably would have been better hiring HH last year so they could understand the Pirelli’s better in time to affect the design of the 2012 car…that said, the team I’m sure has quite of bit of capacity without HH to have found some solutions for this year’s car. As have all the teams no doubt put a ton of thought and R&D into this huge issue last year as they began their 2012 projects.

    7. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      11th January 2012, 14:33

      Don’t forget the guy is an engineer and they are used to being challenged, of course HH won’t work together he will get feedback from Ferrari engineers… in my point of view, it’s a smart move

    8. PM, i think he can be of use to Ferrari from the first day. A person of his experience will get up to speed pretty quickly.

      I dont see what else you expect Ferrari to do, short of hiring Paul Hembery.

    9. @prisoner-monkeys You would like to think that while they may not be able to benefit in the immediate future from the hiring of a former Bridgestone employee, at least they will have a wealth of knowledge about last year and also an approach that respects the Pirelli compounds more.

      1. sid_prasher (@)
        13th January 2012, 16:43

        I feel that some one with such rich experience and specialized knowledge will be a very good addition to the team – especially since getting the tyres working optimally hasn’t been ferrari’s strength in the past couple of years…

  4. Ferrari are stuck in the glory days- it’s a Pirelli man they need! :P

    1. Ya ideally a Pirelli man, and furthermore a Pirelli headquarters at their private test track.

      Seriously though, I sure can’t see how this can hurt. I doubt that Pirelli has used magic to make their mandated soft-ish tires. I’m sure Bridgestone could have done the same if that was their directive from the FIA. I’m sure HH will only need to see some data on these tires to come pretty close to understanding Pirelli’s formulae, and therefore I see this as an asset for the team and I hope it results in them getting closer to the Red Bulls and the Macs for 2012.

      1. Yeah, it’s easy to joke but I don’t think this is a bad thing. Okay, the tyres from BS are very different to Pirelli’s but this guy will have a wealth of knowledge about making tyres work, how they operate etc. and so he’ll still be very useful I think.

        1. Lets not forget that HH has worked with all the teams on the grid regarding tyre management. I’m sure that knowledge is worth a lot of money.

          This was quite a good move on Ferrari’s part.

          1. Yeah, I have seen people in the know commenting that McLaren did a good job with a Bridgestone guy to help get behind how to use the tyres in 2010 as well.

            I am pretty sure a tyre guy who focusses on optimising this part of team operations will help them overcome the endless trouble they had with the harder compounds last year at Ferrari.

    2. Not necessarily Pirelli man. But a tyre man.

      The skill-set gained by a person whether he works in a McKinsey or a BCG is going to be fairly similar. You can hire either of them.

      I think Ferrari have got a good catch here. They have been struggling with tyres for a while now.
      2007 – They were too soft on tyres resulting in poor performance in cold and rainy conditions
      2008 – Kimi couldn’t get them up to temperature
      2009 – Excessive degradation
      2010 – Lets face it, not one soul in the paddock had any problem with the ultra-durable bridgestones
      2011 – Very slow on hard tyres.

      This move can only be good!

      1. 2009 degradation? Where have you heard that? The only team I remember having DEGRADATION issues in specific were Red Bull. The Ferrari in fact if I remember correctly was the kindest.

  5. I think it is a good decision on behalf of Ferrari, ideally they should have got someone from pirelli but there could have been the possibillty that the other teams would complain about having an advantage. It shouldn’t hinder him too much isn’t his job to understand how different tyre types react with different car charecteristics and Ferrari definitely need help on the tyre problems, possibly because of a conservative downforce level on the car.

    1. Lol, I think if they got someone from Pirelli then we could run with the first post, that being Dobin1000’s suggestion of a conspiracy, which I hope was tongue in cheek given that it is a Bridgi man they hired.

  6. it seems that Pat Fry become the new Team Principle I think Domenicali’s role now is more related to the administration & management the technical decisions are Pat’s business he’s doing a grate job in strengthening the aero-department this is the List of former McLaren employee’s now at Ferrari:
    Ioannis Veloudis CFD
    Giacomo Tortora Aerodynamics
    Lawrence Hodge Aerodynamics
    Rupad Darek Simulation studies/Aerodynamics
    Jonathon Heal Composites/stress Engineer
    Neil Martin Research
    Steve Clark Racing Operations

    1. You forgot to mention Fernando Alonso he he.

      1. & Lewis Hamilton for the next year

        1. I wierdly had a strange dream last night that Hamilton had decided to join Ferrari, and when he was asked why, he said there were too many logo’s on his Mclaren suit?????? Exactly, thats what I thought.

    2. @tifoso1989 I think Clark was a Mercedes man; not a McLaren man. Besides Technical Directors are often allowed to dictate who to hire. Case in point; Mercedes.

      1. I’am very sure of what i wrote Clark worked in Mclaren with Pat Fry from 2002 until 2006 then he moved to Honda then Brawn gp then Mercedes

  7. No surprise Domenicali discribed the new car as “different, not particularly pretty and we hope, quick”… I really hope FIA spends the next few years trying to find ways to make the cars look better, because they seem to be getting uglier with the year…

    1. i don’t know why i always think that fast cars are pretty (with the exception of the Brawn gp)

      1. I loved the Brawn GP, I really liked that livery because it stood out and I wished every car being built now would adapt the low nose instead of the almost horizontal one.

      2. Especially holds true for Ferrari road cars, which are works of art that can travel in some cases at over 180mph.

  8. I’m wondering … what counter measures is the McLaren’s managament taking to avoid this departures hurt them?

    1. it’s not a problem for a team like Mclaren to replace them + the fact that UK is full of aerodynamics engineers (that what Luca said) but the problem is the amount of reserved information & methodology that can transmit from Mclaren to Ferrari

      1. yes that’s the main issue indeed. I’ve never in the so called agreements of confidentiality that supposedly signs that prohibit them to reveal data from they former employers

        1. @monosodico @tifoso1989 Most teams employ a gardening leave too. Ferrari is one of the more prolific users of this.

  9. the word believed is missing in the last post , sorry my english is terrible I know

  10. they sure as hell needed to do something about their tire situation, presto. if 2012 is a repeat of 2011, not even domenicali is safe.

    1. @F1Yankee It would be a bit harsh if they booted Domenicali out but it wouldn’t surprise me.

  11. If the Mclaren pitwall at China in 2007, had listened to the advice given to them by Mr. Hamashima, Lewis would then have probably claimed the 2007 WDC. Mr. Hamashima who attended the race in China as Bridgestone’s director of motorsort tyre development, strongly at the time advised the Mclaren pitwall to bring Lewis in 5 laps…….5 laps before his ill-fated retirement.

    The 2007 Chinese GP immediately comes to my mind, when ever I see the name of Hirohide Hamashima.

  12. Didn’t force India also employ a Bridgestone engineer at the start of last season?. I Remember reading somewhere that this engineer helped them to improve Pirelli tire wear resulting in longer stints…

  13. Strong move by FERRARI

  14. Sounds like a good move and I’m sure it will help them in the long-term and certainly with 2013 development.

    Makes me wonder though, have any other teams got such high profile tyre specialists?

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