The British Grand Prix is the home race for seven of Formula 1's 11 teams and also for Bridgestone Motorsport as the division, which incorporates engineers, technicians, the marketing department and management, is based in Britain. The journey...
The British Grand Prix is the home race for seven of Formula 1's 11 teams and also for Bridgestone Motorsport as the division, which incorporates engineers, technicians, the marketing department and management, is based in Britain.
The journey north to historic Silverstone takes just over an hour from Bridgestone Motorsport's UK headquarters at Langley, in Berkshire, which means a break from travelling after the two back-to-back races at Nurburgring and Magny-Cours. Even the 1,600 tyres for the British Grand Prix have a shorter journey, having been flown into London's Heathrow airport from Tokyo as normal but without the trans-European trip that usually follows.
Bridgestone arrives at Silverstone having turned 50 - Michael Schumacher's win at Magny-Cours was not only the driver's 50th grand prix but also took the number of world championship race wins on Bridgestone tyres to 50.
Originally a Royal Air Force airfield, Silverstone hosted the first post-war British Grand Prix in 1947. The 3.194mile (5.141km) track is immensely challenging with some very high-speed sections like Becketts, the Hangar Straight into Stowe corner and the start-finish straight down to Copse. Hard acceleration is required out of Club, where tenths of a second can be lost or gained, with a lap ending at the tricky Woodcote corner.
A technical track for drivers, Silverstone's characteristics also make it challenging for tyres.
The circuit's exposed location means it is often affected by wind and, even in summer, temperatures can dip quite low; the forecast for this week is already described as "autumnal".
Bridgestone's choice of compounds for the race have been selected from the medium section of the range, one a proven race-winner, the other brand new.
Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager at Bridgestone Motorsport, said:
"After the positive performance of the new tyre we took to Magny-Cours, we move to Silverstone and a different challenge. The track's combination of high-speed and slow corners requires good balance and tyres that give stability under braking and in cornering. The challenge lies in finding a tyre to suit all Silverstone's characteristics - concentrate too much on stability through the fast corners and you may end up with not enough grip in the slow corners.
"The surface at Silverstone is quite abrasive compared to recent tracks so the tyres must have a good wear rate and heat durability in order to keep degradation to a minimum.
"The compounds we have chosen for the British Grand Prix came from the results of the last test at Silverstone in June when all our partner teams were there. Last week, we were preparing for the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, with West McLaren Mercedes, Jordan Honda, BAR Honda and Red Bull Sauber Petronas testing at Monza, and Ferrari at Mugello and Fiorano."