GP2

Istanbul: Bridgestone preview

Bridgestone Motorsport Turkey GP2 Series Preview The Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series heads to the undulating Istanbul Park Circuit for the third round of the hotly contested championship where the aspiring Formula One stars of tomorrow will...

Bridgestone Motorsport Turkey GP2 Series Preview

The Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series heads to the undulating Istanbul Park Circuit for the third round of the hotly contested championship where the aspiring Formula One stars of tomorrow will face the challenge of maximising their use of Bridgestone's medium compound tyre.

Previously in Istanbul Bridgestone has brought the hard compound tyre, but in line with this year's approach of bringing a softer tyre to most races, it's the softer medium tyre in Turkey.

Istanbul is a difficult track to master. There is a mix of gradients and a range of different radius corners as well as long straights and high speed sections. It is a recently constructed wide track with a layout which allows a variety of lines into corners, aiding overtaking.

It is the only circuit this season to be run in an anti-clockwise direction, meaning the tyres on the right- hand side of the car will get a tougher workout than usual. The track can be characterised as one that is challenging for the tyres given the high speeds and layout. Heavy braking and high G-forces from the corners mean a lot of heat is generated by the tyres, regardless of the ambient and track temperatures.

In 2008 Giorgio Pantano (Racing Engineering) and Romain Grosjean (ART Grand Prix) both took race wins in Turkey. Grosjean returns this year, racing for the Barwa Addax Team.

Quote from Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development

"Istanbul is the only anti-clockwise circuit on the GP2 calendar this year and is demanding on the tyres, particularly in terms of the long corner at Turn Eight. Last season GP2 ran on the hard compound Bridgestone racing slick but following an analysis of last year's data, the new allocation for this circuit is the medium specification tyre. It will be very important for the drivers to understand how to use their tyres efficiently in Istanbul to gain maximum performance. The drivers' management of the Bridgestones will be the key to maintaining consistent degradation levels and wear rate. It will be interesting to see how the drivers respond to the increased challenge of the softer tyre."

Stats & Facts
Number & Spec of tyres for Turkey 760 (medium and wet)
Pole position time 2008: 1m 32.659s - G Pantano, Racing Engineering
Fastest race lap 2008: 1m 33.432s - A Zuber, Piquet Sports (R1)
Top three 2008 race1: G Pantano (Racing Engineering), R Grosjean (ART), A Zuber (Piquet) Top three 2008 race 2: R Grosjean (ART), V Petrov (Barwa Campos), S Buemi (Arden)

Bridgestone GP2 Series: Q&A with Romain Grosjean

Round three of the 2009 GP2 Series takes place in Istanbul, Turkey, and GP2 championship leader Romain Grosjean is especially looking forward to this race, as the Barwa Addax driver won his first ever GP2 race there last year. The Frenchman spoke to Bridgestone e-reporter finalist Filip Cleeren about the prospect of returning to Istanbul.

Q: You won in Istanbul last year, how happy are you to be going back?

A: Very happy. Istanbul is a very nice track, one of my favourites. It still has the old spirit of fast, challenging corners and lots of elevation changes. I won my first GP2 race there and when you have won at a certain track you have great memories and always look forward to going back.

Q: How confident are you of repeating last year's success?

A: Of course we are doing very well so far this season and my win there last season gives me more confidence. I will try to keep the same level from Barcelona and Monaco and then we'll see where we are. At the moment we have a very good driver-car package so obviously everything is going well so far.

Q: This is your second season in the GP2 Series. How much have you developed as a driver compared to your rookie season last year?

A: I have developed a lot. When you first come into the GP2 Series you have to learn about a lot of things like tyre degradation, the increased engine power and the longer races. Last year was very good for me to gain experience and use it to fight for the GP2 championship.

Q: Speaking of tyre degradation, how challenging is it to keep the Bridgestone tyres under control at Istanbul?

A: It's a very difficult track for the tyres, especially with the really long, fast left-hand corner. It's a high- speed track with heavy braking zones and it puts a lot of stress on the Bridgestones. They have to work quite hard.

Q: How careful do you have to be during the race to keep the tyres in good shape?

A: It pretty much depends on how warm it is, and at Turkey it can get really hot. So we have to take care of them more than anywhere, to be quick all race.

-credit: bridgestone

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About this article
Series GP2
Drivers Giorgio Pantano , Romain Grosjean
Teams ART Grand Prix , Racing Engineering