In the temple of speed
The GP2 Series™ season concludes this weekend at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza after a season-long battle for the title: Romain Grosjean has been crowned as the seventh champion in series history, but the fight continues for the podium places as well as the teams' title.
While the Frenchman claimed the title after another strong performance at Spa, five drivers remain in the fight for the remaining spots on the title podium: Giedo van der Garde, Jules Bianchi, Charles Pic, Luca Filippi and Sam Bird will resume their fight tomorrow, while Grosjean will be hoping to add to his win total of five for the year.
Bianchi and Bird can be expected to pick up where they left off last year: the Frenchman took pole at the fabled Italian circuit but the Englishman pipped his then teammate for the win in the feature race, while Filippi will be hoping to add to his late season surge at his home circuit. Van der Garde and Bird will also be hoping to claim their first victories of the season.
Their teams will be doing everything they can to help the young pilots add to their points tally: Team Addax leads the teams' championship but another strong weekend for Grosjean could tip the balance towards DAMS, while Racing Engineering, Lotus ART and iSport International will battle for third place.
Pirelli’s P Zero GP2 hard compound tyres have been chosen for the Italian track because of its high speeds and hard braking areas, which put severe demands on the rubber.
Pirelli’s Racing Manager Mario Isola commented: “To Monza we will bring our P Zero GP2 hard slicks which are designed to provide the maximum endurance in the toughest conditions. Because of the need for low aerodynamic profile, grip is quite low at Monza. Hard compound tyres are less grippy compared to softer options, but they are best suited to high-speed tracks characterised by high-speed straights and dramatic corners such as Monza. This is because they take longer to get up to ideal operating temperature, resulting in higher levels of performance and durability.”
He continued: “We also opted for our harder compound as we need to equip GP2 drivers with a resistant tyre specifically designed to cope with the high temperature levels which are reached at this circuit, avoiding the effects of blistering. In fact, because of the presence of high longitudinal forces tyre blistering may occur. This phenomenon is due to a combination of hard braking followed by high acceleration and severe cornering forces, which are specific to Monza. Adding to the challenge are some notoriously high kerbs, which also put heavy demands on the tyres.”