New headache for Todt as Bridgestone wheels drop off

The new FIA president, Jean Todt, yesterday faced the first major crisis of his tenure when Bridgestone announced it will be withdrawing as the official tyre supplier for Formula One when its contract runs out at the end of 2010. Hot on the heels of the withdrawal of BMW, who had their last race on Sunday before following Honda out of competition, the news sounded alarm bells from the Middle East to the ruling FIA's headquarters in Paris as it represented another rejection of the perceived marketing value of the sport.

The decision was made by Bridgestone's board after "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".

This is a significant blow, as Bridgestone been involved in Formula One since 1997 and, including 2009, has won 10 drivers' and 10 constructors' championships.

After embarrassment at Indianapolis in 2006 Michelin is unlikely to return, and so is Goodyear, but with South Korea joining the Formula One calendar in 2010 it is possible that the Korean manufacturer Kuomo may step up.

Further bad news is anticipated later in the week, when Toyota are expected to announce their decision also to make a strategic withdrawal.

While that news would throw Sauber a lifeline after the desertion by BMW left them without an official entry in the official 13-team list, it would be catastrophic for Toyota's 700 staff in Cologne and Tokyo, and would threaten the career of Abu Dhabi star Kamui Kobayashi just as it was getting off the ground.

The 23-year-old, who gave Jenson Button a hard time in his first two races, said: "I would probably go back to Japan to maybe work with my father in his sushi restaurant. It was like that two months ago."

As expected, Williams yesterday confirmed that Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hülkenberg will replace Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima as their drivers for 2010, when they will also switch from Toyota engines back to Cosworth.

Williams believe that the combination of Barrichello's experience and Hülkenberg's youthful vigour which won him the 2009 GP2 championship, will give them the impetus to push back to the front of the grid as cost-cutting measures start to favour efficient, independent teams.

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn