Bridgestone returns to the prestigious destination of Monte Carlo next weekend for the 54th running of the Monaco Grand Prix which will take place under the heightened gaze of the world's media. Bridgestone Potenza tyres will grace all 22 cars lining up on the grid for the 78-lap race.
The 3.3 km tight and twisty street course provides one of the greatest challenges in motorsport and is a track where confidence and precision are rewarded, and the slightest mistakes cruelly punished. It's a circuit where a maximum downforce set-up is used by teams and the tyres and drivers are the crucial elements.
Bridgestone will introduce its super soft compound at this race following its successful debut over the first two days of the Paul Ricard test, held from May 15-18. Extracting the maximum from the soft and super soft compounds will be especially crucial in qualifying with overtaking notoriously difficult on the narrow confines of the circuit.
What are the challenges of the Monte Carlo circuit?
Kees van de Grint, Bridgestone Motorsport Head of Track Engineering Operations: "You need as much grip as possible and teams will run their cars with a maximum downforce set-up. Rear traction is crucial with acceleration out of so many corners, but you have to be careful as understeer is not desirable with so much Armco about. There is a very high demand on the tyres as they are very soft. We have also worked on minimising the wear rate as we want to allow the teams flexibility with their strategies."
What were the conclusions from testing the soft and super soft tyres in Paul Ricard?
KvdG: "We conducted the first two days of the Paul Ricard test on the soft and super soft compounds on the shorter configuration circuit. The soft compound Bridgestone Potenza was spot on for the Paul Ricard venue while the super soft had higher grip but more graining. Paul Ricard is not Monaco but from the data we think that the super soft will perform better there. Of course, we won't know this for sure until we're actually in Monte Carlo."