MPH: Mark Hughes on...

MPH: Mark Hughes on...

Bridgestone's F1 withdrawal is hardly surprising. After all, why would anyone pour millions into trying to beat themselves?

Bridgestone is leaving F1 at the end of next season. That's a very troubling development for the sport, but not really unexpected given that, since 2007, it has been spending millions just to beat itself. Since then it has existed almost as an F1 charity, gaining only marginal benefit for itself but performing a vital role to the sport.

A little more than a decade ago the European public awareness of Bridgestone was dwarfed by that of Goodyear, Michelin and Dunlop. Now it probably vies with Michelin as the best-known tyre brand of all – and Bridgestone is pretty certain that transformation is a direct result of its F1 programme during that time.

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