BRITISH GRAND PRIX PREVIEW THE SECOND HALF BEGINS Next weekend's British Grand Prix marks the start of the second half of the 1998 Formula One season. It is a thought that will have been concentrating the minds of technical...
BRITISH GRAND PRIX PREVIEW THE SECOND HALF BEGINS
Next weekend's British Grand Prix marks the start of the second half of the 1998 Formula One season. It is a thought that will have been concentrating the minds of technical staff in virtually all the Grand Prix teams in recent weeks. Trends have become clear and any modifications that can be made to improve car, driver or team performance during the next eight races is likely to be considered.
Tyrrell, in common with the other 10 teams contesting this year's FIA Formula One World Championship, took part in a major three-day test at Silverstone this week - the final opportunity to tune engines and hone chassis set-ups before the British Grand Prix. The challenges provided by the famous airfield circuit set in the rolling Northamptonshire countryside are very different from those of the Circuit de Nevers, scene of last weekend's French Grand Prix, as Tyrrell Managing Director, Dr Harvey Postlethwaite, explains.
"Whereas Magny Cours is a relatively tight circuit with a preponderance of slow and medium speed corners, Silverstone is much more wide open with a challenging mix of high and low-speed turns. It also deserves full marks for having a smooth surface, which is capable of generating high levels of grip. It's a place where a Formula One car really can be unleashed. "The layout has changed considerably over recent years, but whereas modifications to other Grand Prix circuits have usually resulted in corners being slowed, at Silverstone, to the credit of those responsible for the track's configuration, a number of corners are now actually faster than they used to be.
"There are several particularly quick sections of the circuit, specifically: through Copse, the first corner after the pit straight, and down the following straight; from Chapel down the Hangar straight; from Vale down to Club, and through Bridge Corner before braking for Priory. Many of the Formula One teams, including Tyrrell, test at Silverstone quite frequently and have acquired a useful amount of data about the circuit. As a result, they have a pretty clear idea about chassis and engine set-up. "You would tend to run quite high levels of downforce in order to ensure a high exit speed onto the following straights. In that respect, there is an important trade-off that has to be arrived at between cornering speeds and straight-line performance.
"From Tyrrell's point of view, the British Grand Prix is our home event, so we'd like to go well and put in a strong performance for the fans. The cars will be in the same basic configuration they have been for the last two races and, once again, will be fitted with P10 specification Ford V10s. We've spent considerable time with Cosworth, and we're hopeful we've got to the bottom of the spate of mechanical problems that have blighted Tyrrell's performances recently."
Regular driver, Ricardo Rosset, spent much of the recent Silverstone test doing engine checks and carrying out extended runs. By comparison, team mate, Toranosuke Takagi, undertook chassis set-up work and tyre evaluation under the direction of his race engineer, David Brown.
Next weekend's British Grand Prix will consist of 60 gruelling laps of the 5.140 km/3.194 mile Silverstone circuit. Last year's race was won by Williams driver, Jacques Villeneuve, with Benetton's Jean Alesi and Alex Wurz unexpectedly claiming the remaining two podium spots. Villeneuve also started from pole position, courtesy of a record-breaking qualifying lap of 1:21.598, while Ferrari's Michael Schumacher recorded the fastest race lap of 1:24.475. The British Grand Prix gets underway at 14:00 hrs on Sunday, July 12. TYRRELL CHASSIS DETAILS 1998 British Grand Prix RICARDO ROSSET (No 2) Chassis 026/04 TORANOSUKE TAKAGI (No 21) Chassis 026/02 SPARE CHASSIS Chassis 026/03