German GP: Michelin preview

THE STADIUM OF LIGHT This weekend& ...

THE STADIUM OF LIGHT

This weekend’s German Grand Prix will be the 53rd to count towards the world championship – and the seventh of Formula One’s glut of eight mid-season races in the space of 11 weekends. The race was first added to the calendar in 1951, when it took place over 20 laps of the classic, 22.722-kilometre (14.150-mile) Nürburgring Nordschleife.

Present host Hockenheim – famous for its vast, lively, spectator-filled stadium – staged its first world championship race in 1970 and became the German GP’s regular home in 1977, after F1 abandoned the original Nürburgring on safety grounds. The race has since been held elsewhere only once – in 1985, when it took place at the updated, shorter Nürburgring (nowadays the GP of Europe’s customary base).

Hockenheim, which lies close to the cities of Mannheim and Heidelberg, underwent a radical change of its own in 2002, when the circuit’s long, forest-lined straights were axed in favour of a more compact, 4.574-kilometre (2.842-mile) layout. Since its introduction to the world championship, the German GP has only once been staged away from Hockenheim or the Nürburgring: in 1959 it took pla ce at Avus, near Berlin.

Michelin has won the event three times – in 1984 (Alain Prost, McLaren TAG-Turbo), 2001 (Ralf Schumacher, BMW WilliamsF1 Team) and 2003 (Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team). In last season’s corresponding fixture, Jenson Button (B*A*R -Honda) was Michelin’s highest finisher. He charged through the field to take second place after starting 13th.

Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:

“With a number of quick corners and its slower, slippery stadium section, Hockenheim i s a track that tends to heat up rear tyres fairly quickly – although the same is true of all high- speed circuits. This is something we have to keep a very close eye on – and it is quite hard find to strike a good balance."

"The nature of the track and the high temperatures – always a factor in July – would take their toll on softer tyres, so our partners focused on compounds from the middle sector of our range during pre-German Grand Prix tests."

“Since the beginning of the season, our tyres have been competitive whatever the weather, warm or cool. This weekend, we hope our partner teams will once again have tyres ideally suited to the conditions.”

Team perspective:
Pat Symonds, executive engineering director, Renault F1:

“Hockenheim is what we think of as a ‘rear-limited’ circuit when we talk about tyres. The revised layout has high grip levels and is composed almost exclusively of hard acceleration phases from slow- and medium-speed corners. This means traction from the rear of the car is at a premium and rear tyre performance is critical."

"Furthermore, the track temperatures are always very high and we work hard to minimise the risk of blistering the rears. Michelin has provided excellent tyres so far this year, including in the very hot conditions we encountered in Bahrain in April, and will arrive in Germany boosted by its first Silverstone victory since returning to F1. We expect our car/tyre package to be extremely competitive at this circuit.”

MICHELIN UNDERLINES FORMULA ONE SUPREMACY

Michelin has started the second phase of the 2005 Formula One world championship in exactly the same manner that it began its campaign in Australia – with convincing victories at Magny-Cours and Silverstone. Michelin’s motorsport mission is to prove that it gives its partner teams a performance advantage.

Its dominant performances in the two most recent grands prix – won by Fernando Alonso (Renault) and Juan Pablo Montoya (Team McLaren Mercedes) – were the latest manifestation. With 11 of this season’s 19 Formula One races now complete, Michelin and its seven partners have so far achieved the following:

Won 10 grands prix, increasing Michelin’s overall F1 world championship tally to 85; scored 334 points from a potential maximum 429 – a 77.8 per cent strike rate; occupied 24 of the 33 podium positions; obtained 68 of the 88 available points finishes; taken a clean sweep of 11 pole positions; recorded eight out of 11 fastest laps.

The company’s F1 track record complements its continued success in a wide variety of other disciplines – including MotoGP, the World Rally Championship and the Le Mans 24 Hours – and underlines Michelin’s role as the most accomplished tyre supplier in world motorsport.

-michelin-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Mercedes , McLaren , Williams