Throughout the not-so-merry saga of cost cutting proposals being put forward by the Grand Prix Commission to deal with the global financial crisis, MotoGPMatters.com has warned about the law of unintended consequences. Several of the proposed rule changes, we said, would end up costing more money in the short term for uncertain savings in the long term. Our fears have already been confirmed by Yamaha's technical chief Masao Furusawa, who said that Yamaha would be spending more money in the short term to increase engine durability.
Further confirmation of our suspicions has been forthcoming from Bridgestone. In the press release issued by the Japanese tire manufacturer after the Qatar tests, Bridgestone's motorcycle race tyre development manager Tohro Ubukata said that the testing restrictions introduced this year are forcing the company to start work on its 2010 tires already.
"The recent FIM regulation changes have affected our development plan so looking now at development for 2010 is very important. We now have to finish 80 per cent of our development for next season during this winter testing period because in-season testing has been significantly reduced. As a result, as well as bringing the soft and medium compound tyres from this year’s line-up, we brought some new compounds in development for 2010, where the target is to give the tyres a wider still operating range," Ubukata said in the press release.
The biggest problem is the testing restrictions. Because the amount of testing has been reduced to just two post-race tests at which only test riders can participate, the riders simply aren't getting enough track time to do the amount of development that Bridgestone would like. Even worse, because the riders are now testing 2010 rubber, they are also losing their valuable and already severely restricted test time on helping Bridgestone develop tires for next year, rather than setting up the bike with the available 2009 rubber to get the bikes ready for this season.
And this is the problem with all rule changes: the world is a complicated place, and putting a measure in place to restrict one facet of racing always causes effects which you did not intend, and did not even consider when you were considering the problem. The new rule changes look too much like someone trying to make a handful of jelly smaller by squeezing it between their hands. And as anyone who has ever tried this strangely rewarding experience can tell you, though the volume might decrease, you can't tell how much of that is down to compression, and how much is down to it oozing out from between your fingers.