German GP: Michelin preview

MICHELIN KEEPS ITS FOOT TO THE FLOOR Germany is one of Formula One's traditional hosts and this year marks its 54th appearance on the world championship calendar. The German Grand Prix originally took place on the classic, 22.77-kilometre ...

MICHELIN KEEPS ITS FOOT TO THE FLOOR

Germany is one of Formula One's traditional hosts and this year marks its 54th appearance on the world championship calendar.

The German Grand Prix originally took place on the classic, 22.77-kilometre (14.15-mile) Nürburgring Nordschleife. It moved to Avus in 1959, then returned to the Nürburgring before switching to Hockenheim, on a one-off basis, in 1970. Hockenheim became the event's permanent home in 1977 and has since hosted the German GP every year bar one (1985, when the modern-day Nürburgring staged it for the only time).

In addition to its 'home' event, Germany has also staged another 13 other world championship F1 races - since 1984 there have been two Luxembourg GPs and 11 GPs of Europe, all at the Nürburgring.

Hockenheim used to be one of the longest circuits on the calendar, at 6.825 kilometres (4.241 miles). It was shortened by a third in 2002, however, and its distinctive, tree-lined straights were consigned to history. If you walk around the perimeter of the current circuit, gaps between the forestation remain as a poignant reminder of the previous track's silhouette.

Michelin has scored four of its 100 F1 world championship victories in the German GP, in 1984 (Alain Prost, McLaren TAG turbo), 2001 (Ralf Schumacher, Williams-BMW), 2003 (Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams-BMW) and 2005 (Fernando Alonso, Renault).

Michelin's view
Nick Shorrock, Formula One director, Michelin:

"For tyre manufacturers, Hockenheim is a more challenging venue than Magny-Cours, where we raced a fortnight ago, because of its abrasive nature. The track surface has a high level of macro-roughness that places significant demands on the tyres. Hockenheim has less of a tendency to promote graining than Magny-Cours, but it requires the use of rubbers that are capable of resisting high temperatures and will not be prone to blistering."

"The rears are subjected to particularly high loads - cars reach speeds of more than 300kph (186mph) through long, sweeping curves and there are significant traction events as drivers accelerate hard out of slower corners, such as Turn Six and Turn 13."

"Preparing tyres for conditions such as these is a very intense process. We evaluated our Hockenheim tyres in Jerez, Spain, during weeks 27 and 29. We tested six compounds and seven tyre constructions and did some analytical work that will assist our progress in future races."

"Both Jerez sessions were very busy- and they were absolutely essential as we strive to help our partners achieve their objectives in the 2006 world championships. Even in the heat of July, there has been no let-up either on the track or at our research centre, which has been working flat out on different simulation programmes in order to extract the best performance from our partners' car and tyre packages."

"F1 tyre preparation is extremely demanding and requires constant innovation in order to ensure continuous progress. Michelin has been particularly active in this domain in 2006 - more so than in previous years. To date we have brought about 40 new compounds to races this season - about twice as many as we had introduced by the same stage last year."

"In order to select these compounds we have tested more than 200 different combinations of compound and construction - a clear indication that we are determined to succeed during our swansong F1 season. Germany is one of seven races that remain and we will continue to push relentlessly in order to supply our partners with the best possible products."

Driver perspective:
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber F1 Team:

"It seems likely that we will face high ambient temperatures in Hockenheim. The asphalt is very dark and gets extremely hot. This leads to an extreme temperature exchange between track surface and tyre tread, which increases the risk of blistering. This obviously presents the tyre manufacturers with a big challenge and selecting the right compound is going to be crucial."

-michelin-

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