Formula One heads to Sao Paulo for the Brazilian Grand Prix on October 19-21 where one of three drivers will follow in the footsteps of Mika Hakkinen (champion in 1998-99) and Michael Schumacher (champion in 2000-2004) to become the next Formula...
Formula One heads to Sao Paulo for the Brazilian Grand Prix on October 19-21 where one of three drivers will follow in the footsteps of Mika Hakkinen (champion in 1998-99) and Michael Schumacher (champion in 2000-2004) to become the next Formula One drivers' champion using Bridgestone Potenza tyres.
Bridgestone's soft and super soft tyres, the same combination as used in Monaco, Canada and Hungary earlier this season, will be the tyres that McLaren Mercedes team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen will use as this year's thrilling title race comes to its conclusion.
The Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace is all set to be location of this end of season showdown and the 4.3km circuit, also known as Interlagos due to its location between two artificial lakes, will provide a true test for these championship protagonists. It is the second track this season to be run in an anti-clockwise direction, and it is characterised by its undulating and bumpy nature.
A twisty infield section, with the possibility of a dusty circuit to start the weekend, means that front tyre graining is likely to be a factor. Heavy braking and rapid acceleration out of the corners will also place demands on the tyres, with good rear traction a particular requirement for a fast lap.
Bridgestone tyres have been used on the winning car in Brazil in seven grand prix since Bridgestone's Formula One participation started in 1997. They have also been on the pole position car seven times in this period. Last year, Bridgestone-shod Felipe Massa (Ferrari) thrilled his home crowd by taking pole and victory.
Hirohide Hamashima, Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development:
Q: Why are Bridgestone bringing the soft and super soft compounds to Brazil?
HH: Interlagos looks like a circuit that would be quite severe on tyres, but this is not the case, as it is not actually that harsh. High levels of grip are an important requirement here, especially in the infield section. Because of these grip requirements we will bring the soft and super soft compounds, the softest tyres we have in the 2007 Bridgestone Potenza Formula One range. However, we expect to have less grip here than when we were in a competitive situation last year, so teams and drivers will have to work hard to find the best set-up."
Q: What challenges does Interlagos present?
HH: It is a track which has a lot of gradient changes and the first corner will be a particular challenge. The corner is downhill and comes after the long straight, so identifying the correct braking point will be vital. This corner is very difficult and drivers often lock their front wheels here, so they will have to be careful to avoid flat-spotting their tyres. This year there is an unknown element too, as the circuit has been resurfaced.