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Catalunya: Bridgestone preview

Bridgestone Motorsport Barcelona GP2 Series Preview The Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series will start its exciting fifth season when 13 teams and 26 drivers from around the world line up on the grid with Bridgestone's medium compound GP2 Series ...

Bridgestone Motorsport Barcelona GP2 Series Preview

The Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series will start its exciting fifth season when 13 teams and 26 drivers from around the world line up on the grid with Bridgestone's medium compound GP2 Series slick tyre in the first round of the ten round championship, as part of the Spanish Grand Prix on May 8-10.

Bridgestone tyres are once more the official tyre for the GP2 Series as they have been since the Series began. Just like last season, the GP2 Series tyres will be produced at Bridgestone's Technical Centre in Rome. In 2008 the hard compound tyre was used in Barcelona, however Bridgestone's tyre allocations for 2009 are generally one step softer, so in Barcelona the medium compound will be used.

All competitors will have to work hard to find the best set-up to harness the potential of Bridgestone's tyres at the 4.66 km Circuit de Catalunya, located 20km to the north east of Barcelona. The circuit gives tyres a thorough workout. High loads are experienced, particularly in turn three, and those tyres on the left hand side of the car are put under a lot of stress. Bridgestone brings an average of 760 tyres to each round, and these include both wet and dry weather Potenza tyres.

In 2008, Alvaro Parente (Super Nova Racing) and Kamui Kobayashi (DAMS) both took race wins in Barcelona. Both drivers return to GP2 for this season, Kobayashi remaining with DAMS, with whom he has just won the GP2 Asia Series championship whilst Parente is now racing with Ocean Racing Technology.

Quote from Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development

"Barcelona is quite a severe circuit so it will be a challenge for competitors to use a softer tyre than has been used here previously. Braking stability is important in Barcelona and it is very important to get a good car balance in the slow speed corners. This weekend will be a challenge for teams and drivers alike and I expect we will see some exciting racing as 26 drivers try to stake their claim on an F1 drive for next year."

Stats & Facts
Number & Spec of tyres for Barcelona: 760 (medium and wet)
Pole position time 2008: 1m 27.660s - P Maldonado, Piquet Sports
Fastest race lap 2008: 1m 28.937s - R Grosjean, DAMS (R2)
Top three 2008 race1: A Parente (Super Nova), B Senna (iSport), A Zuber (Piquet Sports)
Top three 2008 race 2: K Kobayashi (DAMS), S Buemi (Arden), G Pantano (Racing Engineering)

Bridgestone GP2 Series: Q&A with Hirohide Hamashima

The Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series starts its fifth season in 2009. This will be the second season with the current generation GP2 / 08 car. Bridgestone Motorsport Director of Motorsport Tyre Development Hirohide Hamashima gives an insight into what could be expected for the season ahead.

Q: What is new for Bridgestone Motorsport for the 2009 GP2 Series season?

A: This year our significant change is that we have generally made the tyre allocations softer for the races. The GP2 Series organisers wanted to give the drivers more of a challenge and softer allocations mean that tyre management becomes more important during the races. The GP2 Series is a proving ground for the F1 drivers of tomorrow, and in Formula One tyre management is crucial.

Q: Will Bridgestone's GP2 Series tyres continue to be produced in Rome?

A: Yes, this will be our second season of producing GP2 Series tyres at our Technical Centre in Rome. This was a successful change for us for 2008 and it helps us with logistics for this European-based series, as well as giving our Rome base an exciting challenge.

Q: The GP2 Asia Series used softer tyres than previously. Was this a success?

A: Yes, I think it was a success. Drivers learnt many lessons which can be applied to the GP2 Series season. The drivers who scored podiums all pointed to their tyre management as a reason for their success, and for teams the timing of pit stops became more important than before.

Q: Will the tyre compounds be the same as last season?

A: There are changes for this season. Firstly, the hard compound will not be used at all. The medium compound is the same as it was last year. This tyre will be used at the more severe circuits on the calendar: Barcelona, Istanbul, Silverstone and Monza. We also have new soft and super soft compounds. The soft compound will be used at the Nurburgring, Valencia, Spa and Algarve, whilst the super soft compound will be used in Monaco and Budapest.

Q: In the current economic climate is Bridgestone's involvement with the GP2 Series relevant?

A: Of course, the economic climate is very difficult, but it is very rewarding for our tyre business for Bridgestone to support motorsport. We support drivers from karting, through Formula Nippon to the GP2 Series and then Formula One and the IndyCar Series. We have seven drivers in Formula One this season who have come through the GP2 Series, including the reigning world champion, and this shows us how strong the Series is for developing driver talent and this benefits us.

-credit: bridgestone

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About this article
Series GP2
Drivers Alvaro Parente , Kamui Kobayashi
Teams DAMS , Racing Engineering