Bridgestone Motorsport Monza GP2 Series Preview
The Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series heads to Italy for its ninth round, where two races on Bridgestone's hard compound GP2 slick racing Potenza will be played out on the high speed Monza circuit, scene of the Italian Grand Prix on September 7-9.
This will be the final GP2 race this season that the hard compound Bridgestone Potenza will be used. Earlier in the year it was raced in Turkey, Britain and Spain. Five drivers have won races using this tyre in 2007, with Lucas di Grassi (ART), Bruno Senna (Arden), Adam Carroll (FMS) and Andreas Zuber (iSport) all taking a win apiece, and Timo Glock (iSport) taking two wins on this tyre.
Monza is a circuit with long straights and teams use low downforce set-ups on their cars to assist with attaining high speeds here. To stop the top speeds getting too high the circuit has two chicanes. The cars need a set-up which can maximise traction through the corners and on to the straights to maximise their top speeds. With traction crucial, maintaining the condition of the rear tyres will be important for the drivers on the track and teams in their chassis set-up.
This track provides a gruelling set of tests for the tyres, with the high speeds creating high temperatures in the tyres. Braking with low downforce for the chicanes means wheel-locking is likely and the low downforce means mechanical grip is at a premium in the chicanes.
In 2006, Giorgio Pantano (FMS) won both races in Italy and Nelson Piquet Jr (Piquet Sports) set pole with a time of 1min 30.161secs. Heading to Monza, Glock leads the Drivers' Championship on 66 points, followed by di Grassi on 64 and Luca Filippi (Super Nova) remains in third position with 37.
Quote from Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development
"GP2 teams will run on the hard compound Bridgestone Potenza in Monza as it is a very high speed circuit, the fastest currently on the GP2 calendar. Cars will be set-up with less downforce to achieve high speeds, but this makes the cars more difficult to control through the chicanes as they will have less grip. Braking performance also decreases with less downforce and the drivers will need to allow for this, particularly through the first fast chicane at the end of the start-finish straight, which provides a good opportunity for overtaking. The level of degradation and the rate of tyre wear are generally consistent at this circuit."