French GP: Bridgestone preview

Formula One heads to central France for the eighth round of the FIA Formula One World Championship where Bridgestone's medium and soft Potenza tyres will tackle the silky smooth surface of the Circuit de Nevers Magny Cours. This will be the 58th...

Formula One heads to central France for the eighth round of the FIA Formula One World Championship where Bridgestone's medium and soft Potenza tyres will tackle the silky smooth surface of the Circuit de Nevers Magny Cours.

This will be the 58th running of the French Grand Prix, and the 18th time the event has taken place at the 4.41km Magny Cours facility. The circuit features a diverse mixture of corners and the location of the track makes it susceptible to changing wind direction, making finding a setup difficult for teams and drivers.

Whilst the circuit surface is described as being smooth, it is not uniform as different parts of the track have been surfaced at different times, meaning there is variation in grip levels, which will keep the drivers alert as well as their engineers busy when seeking the optimum set-up.

Last year Kimi Raikkonen (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro) used a medium - medium - soft tyre strategy to win the French Grand Prix by 2.4 seconds from team-mate Felipe Massa. Lewis Hamilton (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) finished third.

Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development, said:

What are the challenges of Magny Cours?

"Magny Cours is an interesting circuit as it offers a diverse range of challenges over the course of a lap. A driver requires good stability from the tyres in the fast corners and also good traction out of the slow corners. There are different tarmac types at this circuit and two thirds of it was resurfaced before last year's race. When we have sunshine, the circuit surface can get very hot very quickly and this, and the wind at the track, makes finding a good set-up difficult for teams."

What has been learnt from the latest test in Barcelona?

"In Barcelona we tested the hard compound of our current specification tyres and good data has been collected. This was mainly a test for the teams to evaluate their latest parts and modifications, and it is interesting to see how everyone is evolving. After almost a year and a half on these tyres all teams have a good understanding, and everyone is chasing smaller and smaller improvements as the competition is so close."

Stats & Facts
Number & Spec of tyres brought to Magny Cours 2,200 (wet/extreme wets and medium & soft dry)
Pole position time 2007: 1min 15.034 (Massa)
Fastest race lap 2007: 1min 16.099 (Massa)
Top three 2007: Raikkonen, Massa, Hamilton

-credit: bridgestone

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Kimi Raikkonen , Lewis Hamilton , Felipe Massa
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , McLaren