All eyes this weekend will be on the Nurburgring, where drivers' championship contenders Mika Hakkinen (West McLaren Mercedes) and Michael Schumacher (Scuderia Marlboro Ferrari) go into battle in the Luxembourg Grand Prix with exactly 80...
All eyes this weekend will be on the Nurburgring, where drivers' championship contenders Mika Hakkinen (West McLaren Mercedes) and Michael Schumacher (Scuderia Marlboro Ferrari) go into battle in the Luxembourg Grand Prix with exactly 80 points each.
In preparation for what could be the deciding race of the season, Bridgestone supported testing at Magny-Cours with the Benetton, Prost and McLaren teams. Starting on Tuesday (September 15), the first two days were mainly wet or damp, while the final two days took place under dry conditions.
The McLaren drivers taking part were Hakkinen, his race team mate David Coulthard and test driver Ricardo Zonta. Appearing for Benetton were Giancarlo Fisichella and Alexander Wurz, while Prost had Olivier Panis, Jarno Trulli and Stephane Sarrazin. It was the first F1 opportunity for Sarrazin, who has one victory in Formula 3000 this year with the Apomatox team.
The Stewart team limited its testing to the drag strip at Santa Pod, not far from its Milton Keynes factory, where it was planning to check some new electronic systems.
"Bearing in mind the importance to the world championship of the final two GPs of the season, we had 12 different specifications of tyre at Magny-Cours," said Mr Hirohide Hamashima, Technical Director of Bridgestone Motorsport. "The wet weather gave us the opportunity to evaluate rain tyres, and the dry conditions to decide the two different compounds of dry weather tyres which will be available to our teams for the Luxembourg race."
There is nothing unfamiliar about the short Nurburgring circuit where the first Luxembourg GP to qualify for the world championship was contested one year ago. "It has quite a wide variety of corners and tends to be quite abrasive," commented Mr Hamashima, "but for us the greatest challenge is to provide a tyre which will be competitive under the wide range of temperatures likely to be encountered there at this time of year."
The opportunity was taken during the test to evaluate tyres which may be used at Suzuka in the Japanese Grand Prix, which will be the final round of the 1998 world championship on November 1.
Bridgestone will bring 1830 tyres to Nurburgring for the Luxembourg Grand Prix. This will be split approximately 50/50 between dry and wet tyres.