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Italian GP: Preview - Bridgestone

NEWS STORY
10/09/2008

Straight from the excitement at Spa Francorchamps, Bridgestone heads to another destination steeped in motorsport history, the Autodromo Nazionale Monza for the Gran Premio Santander d'Italia, round fourteen of the FIA Formula One World Championship.

Monza is a high-speed challenge for competitors, with long straights through the circuit which is located in parkland within the city of Monza, 20km north of Milan. The long straights mean that cars run with low downforce set-ups, so in the slower corners the tyres don't have the same levels of assistance from the cars' aerodynamics.

Traction out of the slow corners is another particular demand at Monza, so the rear tyres in particular suffer a harsh workout. As a contrast from Spa, the weather in Italy is usually hot, and the tyre blistering seen at this venue last season means that this year Bridgestone is bringing harder tyres, the hard and medium, as opposed to the medium and soft used in 2007.

The long straights mean that tyre pressure is an area that teams will have to monitor closely. If there is too little pressure the tyres will overheat along the long straights, but if there is too much pressure grip through the corners will be compromised.

This is the final Grand Prix of the season to take place in Europe, before Formula One heads to the new destination of Singapore for its first night race, and then the Japanese, Chinese and Brazilian Grands Prix to finish the year.

What are the points of interest at Monza?
Hirohide Hamashima - Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development: Monza is an exciting and challenging race venue. There are high speed straights and teams use low levels of downforce. This places more emphasis on the tyres in the corners as there is less aerodynamic assistance for grip. We see quite high levels of wear on the left hand tyres because of the high speed corners, and the rear tyres have high traction demands on them too, so it is quite a severe circuit on tyres. The track surface also presents a challenge, as some of it is older and rougher whilst some of it has been resurfaced quite recently so is smoother.

Why has the tyre allocation changed from last season's?
HH: Last year with the soft and medium compound allocation we saw blistering occur here, in particular on the soft compound. With the hard and medium compound allocation blistering should be less of a factor for the weekend.

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