Board members at Japanese tyre manufacturer Bridgestone have come under pressure to reverse their decision to quit Formula One at the end of the 2010 season, according to a report by Autosport.
Bridgestone have made a long-standing commitment to bring their 14-year association with the sport to a close this season. However, an increasing number of teams are said to be keen to convince the company to stay on. Representatives from several teams put forward their case to Bridgestone's motorsport director Hiroshi Yasukawa and its new European chief executive Makio Ohashi in separate meetings during last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. Yasukawa has admitted that he is sympathetic to their cause and will attempt to sway senior figures in Japan.
Yasukawa told Autosport: "After each race meeting we make a report to Japan, so are going to report to our top board members about what has happened this weekend. Mr Ohashi has also realised that F1 is very important for Bridgestone. I really appreciate the teams' approach, and we are happy that they still trust in our company and they wish Bridgestone to stay. Maybe we have to reconsider because of the market and the environment. We also understand that F1 itself is more concerned about the environment now, and there is a new power train coming.
"However, nothing has changed yet. Our company has said, very unfortunately, that we have to stop at the end of this year."
Formula One teams will meet in Monaco to discuss their options for next season, with Pirelli and Michelin both possible partners. The situation has been complicated by the latter's insistence last week that it would place a strong emphasis on environmental matters, and would only participate as one of a number of competing manufacturers.
Didier Mariton, the managing director of the French company, said: "We're in talks with the (International Automobile) Federation and the other bodies that run Formula One and we told them that if several brands were allowed in the sport then Michelin... would be ready to think about it."