British GP Bridgestone Preview

Silverstone, July/ 02/ 1999 1999 BRITISH GRAND PRIX - PREVIEW Medium or Soft: that is the question The struggle for the FIA's two world championship titles reaches its halfway point on July 11, when the British Grand Prix is disputed ...

Silverstone, July/ 02/ 1999 1999 BRITISH GRAND PRIX - PREVIEW

Medium or Soft: that is the question

The struggle for the FIA's two world championship titles reaches its halfway point on July 11, when the British Grand Prix is disputed at Silverstone. Once an airfield in times of war, the circuit is now 'home' not only to a majority of the competing teams but also to Bridgestone Motorsport, which has its F1 Motorsport Department base at High Wycombe.

Already familiar to the British teams which use it regularly, Silverstone was the scene of even more intense activity during a four-day (June 29/July 2) pre-race test attended by all 11 of the teams contesting the 1999 world championships. Typically varied British weather allowed the drivers and their engineers to evaluate both wet and dry setups.

"With its mixture of high- and medium-speed corners, Silverstone is yet another circuit where we will be offering the teams a choice between our Medium and Soft compounds," says Yoshihiko Ichikawa, Technical Manager of Bridgestone Motorsport. "At first sight, the choice may appear easy," added Ichikawa, "but even excluding sudden changes in the weather, success in the Grand Prix could hang on the right decision being made before the 1pm deadline on Saturday.

"The Medium tends to have greater stability but less grip in the high corners," Ichikawa continues: "it offers more consistent lap times and the possibility of having to make only one pit stop before it needs to be changed.

"The attraction of the Soft option," says Ichikawa, "is its superior performance when new. The difference is by no means huge, but even hundredths of a second can make a difference under qualifying conditions. And although the indications are that the choice of the Soft compound will mean an extra pit stop, this could be revised if the weather turns cold."

Bridgestone will bring 2640 tyres to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix devided between dry and wet tyre.

As illustrated on the attached diagram, the variation in performance between the two compounds is most noticeable when the tyres are new. Tyre wear is unlikely to present any problems on either compounds.

Tyre Facts: Medium = More stability in high speed corners due to the stiff tread. More durability but less grip than the Soft compound Big likelihood of one pit stop Soft = It has less stiff block than the Medium so it tends to have less stability in high speed corners. More grip. Suitable for quick laps and qualifying. Big likelihood of two pit stops to maintain a good performance.

Tyre wear = It will not seriously affect overall performance.

Track = High and Medium speed corners.

Cornering = As there is a severe stress on the tyres when cornering due to the high loading put on them in high speed corners, they tend to suffer more degradation.

Degradation =        Considering that the high speed corners are followed by
the medium speed corners,  there is more degradation as the tread tends to
be worked harder.         

Temperatures = Weather temperature has a considerable influence on tyre performance. The cooler the weather, the better the performance.

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Series Formula 1