Ferrari hire former Bridgestone tyre chief

Milan: Ferrari have hired former Bridgestone chief Hirohide Hamashima to help the Formula One team gain a better understanding of the way their car works with the current Pirelli tyres.

The team also announced at a week-long `Wrooom` event in the Italian Dolomites resort of Madonna Di Campiglio that they would launch their, as-yet unnamed, 2012 car at Maranello on February 3 before starting testing in Jerez in southern Spain the following week.

Hamashima worked closely with Ferrari during the Michael Schumacher years when they were the sport`s dominant team and Bridgestone`s most important partner. Team principal Stefano Domenicali welcomed him aboard on Wednesday.

A spokesman said Bridgestone`s former motorsport tyre development head would report to technical director Pat Fry and start work at Maranello this week.

The Japanese engineer led Bridgestone`s Formula One effort between 1997 and 2010, a period in which Ferrari won five drivers` titles in a row with Schumacher, one with Kimi Raikkonen and also eight constructors` championships.

"He will give his contribution to the development of the car and the issue of the tyres, as this was an issue where last year we suffered in some conditions," team principal Stefano Domenicali told reporters on Wednesday.

Bridgestone pulled out of Formula One at the end of 2010, leaving Pirelli to take their place.

Ferrari finished third overall last season, well behind champions Red Bull and McLaren, with just one win courtesy of Spain`s twice world champion Fernando Alonso.

The team have an unchanged line-up this season with Alonso and Brazilian Felipe Massa, who needs to show a significant improvement if he is to retain his place in 2013.

Bureau Report