European GP Preview: Bridgestone


Bridgestone Motorsport heads for the German Nurburgring circuit this week for Round Seven of the FIA Formula One World Championship. The previous round in Monaco demonstrated the potential of the Bridgestone – Ferrari package in race trim but although Michael Schumacher set the fastest lap of the race, a series of incidents ended his and Rubens Barrichello's chances of finishing higher than seventh and eighth respectively. Currently lying ninth and eleventh in the drivers' standings, the pair will be hoping to boost their points tally at the European Grand Prix – a race which they dominated in 2004 crossing the line in first and second places. The Jordan Grand Prix and Minardi F1 team drivers will also be hoping for a strong finish at the Nurburgring.

Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Motorsport: "Although we did not achieve our aims in qualifying at the last round in Monaco, the car - tyre race performance was noticeably strong and I am confident that, together with our teams, we can build on that performance at the Nurburgring this weekend. The European Grand Prix is also a significant race because of its proximity to Michael Schumacher's home town and it would be very satisfying to see him do well in front of his home crowds. Furthermore, I look forward to seeing the GP2 Series racing again after the excellent performance of our GP2 tyres in Monaco, which resulted in several positive comments from the drivers."

Tyres for Nurburgring

The 5.148km Nurburgring circuit has one of the smoothest track circuits on the F1 calendar which requires Bridgestone to bring tyres from the softer end of the compound spectrum. Bridgestone will have two dry weather specifications of grooved tyres per team and one specification of wet and extreme wet weather tyre.

Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager: "The key issue at this venue is grip so we will be taking tyres from the soft end of the compound range to suit the relatively smooth track surface. However, even though the circuit is not too hard on tyres, we will need to watch the wear durability of the tyres. Stability when changing direction will also be important there. In addition to the circuit characteristics we also have to take into account the circuit's own changeable climate caused by its mountainous location. Depending on the weather, we may experience track temperatures from below 20 degrees Celcius to approximately 40 degrees Celcius, if sunny. So the tyres will need to be able to cope with a large temperature range. This weekend also sees a change in the qualifying format from two sessions to one Saturday afternoon session, running with race fuel. It will be interesting to see how this affects the grid. We had a very successful race at the Nurburgring last year with a one-two finish for the Ferrari drivers so it would be nice to be as strong again this year."

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Published: 24/05/2005
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