Austrian GP: Bridgestone preview

New compound to smooth the way in Austria From Barcelona and one of the best known tracks for Bridgestone and its teams, Formula 1 moves to the A1-Ring in Austria, a track visited only once a year for the Grand Prix. Bridgestone's objective is...

New compound to smooth the way in Austria

From Barcelona and one of the best known tracks for Bridgestone and its teams, Formula 1 moves to the A1-Ring in Austria, a track visited only once a year for the Grand Prix. Bridgestone's objective is to consolidate and build on its success so far this season, supporting all its teams - Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, Sauber Petronas, DHL Jordan Honda, Lucky Strike BAR Honda and OrangeArrows - in their bid for points. With four cars in the top six at the last race, the aim is to see maximum points shared between teams on Bridgestone tyres at Spielberg next weekend.

With five teams testing in six different locations in four countries, this week has been a challenging one logisitically for Bridgestone. Championship leader Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro completes its work at Mugello today having finished a three-day test at Monza yesterday. DHL Jordan Honda and OrangeArrows remained in the UK, while Sauber Petronas headed for Valencia in Spain and Lucky Strike BAR Honda visited Estoril in Portugal. All teams had the opportunity to try at least one of the tyre specifications Bridgestone is taking to Austria.

Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Motorsport:

"It was wonderful to be able to celebrate with three of our teams last Sunday, particularly since OrangeArrows' 6th place brought their first point of the season and Sauber Petronas had both cars in the points. After five races I am pleased with our performance and the competitiveness we have shown but we are now entering a crucial period. We must keeping pushing forward and not let two or three strong races go to our heads. Therefore, we will be putting our past successes out of our minds once we arrive in Austria."

The 2002 Tyres

Bridgestone is taking one new compound to Austria, together with a slightly different version that is proven race winner.

Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager of Bridgestone Motorsport:

"The A1-Ring is a very different track to the Circuit de Catalunya with particular characteristics that we have to take into account when developing tyres for the Austrian Grand Prix. The surface is smooth and short on grip but the type of soft compound one would normally choose for better grip may not be strong enough to cope with the A1-Ring's demanding corners. Graining on the front tyres, which in simple terms is the wearing down of the grooves from the the outer edge, is a problem, and the track has a tendency towards understeer. The rubber needs to be strong as well as having good adhesion - we achieve this through compound development, the ingredients we use and the way they are put together."

The Track

The smooth surface of the A1-Ring means wear is not a particular concern. Instead, it is the nature of the corners that presents the challenge.

Hisao Suganuma added: "The A1-Ring is a power circuit with throttles open for longer than usual. It has an uphill-donwhill topography and requires good braking and traction. It is also one of the worst tracks on the calendar for understeer so our aim as tyre supplier is to help our teams find a good balance. The circuit is also renowned for causing graining, with corners like Remus Kurve and Gösser Kurve putting a lot of lateral force through the front tyres which leads to wear on the outer edge of the grooves. Reducing understeer and finding better traction to help our cars keep their speed up through the corners are our aims. Strategy-wise, I would expect teams to do just one stop."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Hiroshi Yasukawa
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , Jordan