The German Grand Prix at Hockenheim will host the sixth round of the Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series on 23- 25 July. Bridgestone's medium compound dry tyres will be in use at this fast and demanding circuit.
Hockenheim appears on the race calendar every other year, alternating with the Nurburgring. Providing a combination of high and low speed corners, the range of turns at the Hockenheimring includes a fast sweeping corner at turn five, a hairpin in the second sector and a final slow speed technical complex.
Due to the nature of the circuit, the compromise on car set-up is the main test for the teams. By opting for a low downforce high speed set-up the teams will be sacrificing mechanical grip, increasing the chances of degradation which will make the tyres vulnerable in the last sector and at the hairpin.
Giorgio Pantano and Formula One's Karun Chandhok were the respective winners of the feature and sprint races in 2008, racing on Bridgestone's medium specification dry tyre.
Quote from Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development
"Hockenheimring is a track with a combination of many high and low speed corners, which makes it technically challenging for the teams. The first turn in the opening sector is similar to Copse at Silverstone. In the second sector, the long left hander at turn five is particularly hard on the right rear tyres because of the sustained high speed load. After the hairpin, traction is very important as the drivers accelerate out of the corner and those that exit well will have an opportunity to overtake. Car balance is crucial in the final complex as mechanical grip is required to be quick through here. The last sector can make a big difference to a drivers' overall lap time."
Bridgestone tests Luiz Razia's balancing skills!
Bridgestone balances a total of 704 tyres, both dry and wet specifications, at every round of the GP2 Series. Directly after being fitted to race rims and inflated with dried air, the race tyres are then balanced in the same way as Bridgestone's road tyres. This is a critical part of Bridgestone's tyre preparation. Making sure the tyres are balanced correctly is essential, as the GP2 teams' car set-up is dependent on the stability of the tyres.
Tin weights are now used instead of lead for the balancing process. This is a more environmentally responsible practice and at the end of each race weekend, Bridgestone collects and recycles the tin weights used in both GP2 and Formula One.
Luiz Razia, from Rapax Team, visited the Bridgestone GP2 fitting area at Silverstone to have a go at successfully balancing a set of Bridgestone's Potenza racing slicks.
Bridgestone's GP2 Team Foreman, Malcolm von Berg, talked the Brazilian racer and Virgin Racing F1 Test Driver through the balancing process. Visit www.bridgestonemotorsportmedia.com to download high resolution images.