Round twelve and it's off to Hockenheim for the 2001 German Grand Prix. Originally built as a proving ground for Mercedes cars, the track has been on the F1 calendar annually since 1986, having previously alternated hosting the event with the Nurburgring. The race has become famous for the supporters who pack themselves into the Stadium carrying a colourful array of flags and noisy firecrackers, creating an electric atmosphere throughout the weekend.
The Hockenheimring is one of the toughest and longest circuits on the race calendar. The straights run deep through the flat woodland and cars will reach up to 340kph before braking into each chicane. Notoriously a 'car breaker', the track has a high rate of attrition and is particularly hard on tyres and brakes. Finding the correct set up is always difficult as low downforce is required for speed on the straights, but the cars will also need sufficient grip to get through the tight turns and narrow track in the Stadium section.
Last year's race was encouraging for the OrangeArrows team. After starting from fifth and eleventh on the grid, both OrangeArrows drivers showed strong pace in the race. While heavy rain fell over the circuit, Pedro de la Rosa got up to third place before a spin dropped him down the field. Jos, meanwhile, found himself in seventh position, but after challenging for sixth, braked too late and his gamble for points did not pay off as he slid into the gravel. Pedro, however, continued and finished in sixth place, picking up the team's fourth point of the season. This year, the OrangeArrows team will be hoping for a good performance and will be working hard to get the best from the car.
"The Hockenheimring is a very fast, low downforce circuit with very long straights. That kind of configuration usually suits our car but we won't know exactly where we stand until we start running on Friday. Hopefully we are in for a good weekend. Hockenheim is also one of the closest Grands Prix to Holland so you can expect to see a lot of Dutch fans at this race."
"Hockenheim is a pretty good circuit. It's very fast with very hard braking but then it's also tight around the complex section. Set-up is a real compromise as you want to have very little downforce for the straights but enough grip to get through the complex without losing time. I scored points both times I raced there in F3000 and it's a circuit I enjoy a lot."
"We're looking forward to going to Hockenheim as it was a good race for us last year. If you compare last year's performance to that of the rest of the 2000 season, we ran very well there and the track is such that it particularly suits our car. The fast straights lend themselves to the characteristics of the A22, so hopefully it should be a good one for us. Although Enrique has raced there before in F3000, he will still be a bit of an unknown quantity as this will be his first time in an F1 race running the lowest downforce level so that will be interesting. The circuit suits Jos' style of driving very well, as heavy braking is his speciality and, with three big braking areas, he should have plenty of opportunity to demonstrate his skills."