European GP: Arrows preview

Marking the halfway point in the 2002 World Championship season, the European Grand Prix is held at the Nürburgring in Germany. The OrangeArrows team's test developments progressed last week as its programme continued in the UK. Heinz-Harald ...

Marking the halfway point in the 2002 World Championship season, the European Grand Prix is held at the Nürburgring in Germany. The OrangeArrows team's test developments progressed last week as its programme continued in the UK. Heinz-Harald Frentzen was on hand to carry out aerodynamic tests on the A23 and the team was pleased with the progression.

THE RACE

The Nürburgring has been the favoured nomination to host the European Grand Prix in recent years but the track is perhaps most famous for its predecessor - the perilous 14 mile 'Nordschleife'. This year, the circuit celebrates 75 years of racing history and it was one of the original venues for Formula One racing, hosting its first Grand Prix in 1951, but after Nikki Lauda's horrific accident there in 1976, the circuit was dropped from the calendar and forced to under-go major changes to improve safety. Now, the current track appears to lie in the shadows of its former days but is still renowned for providing some of the most memorable races in Grand Prix history.

Race Information
Lap Distance: 5.144 km
Race Distance: 308.623, 60 laps
2001 Winner: Michael Schumacher, Ferrari
Website: www.nuerburgring.de

THE TRACK

Hidden away in the Eifel mountains, the present Nürburgring is a modern circuit, with modern facilities to match. Revised again for this year's race, it benefits from changes to increase overtaking opportunities and most noticeably, changes to the tight first corner into a three-turn complex make the new layout safer. Built up of long straights linked with tight corners betwixt several hairpins, the tracks combination works well and demands a good set up in order for the cars to run at their optimum.

High levels of downforce are needed to get speed on the straights, while a good suspension set up is also important as it is necessary to ride the kerbs here in order to get the best possible lap. The drivers welcome the smooth track, allowing the cars to run with softer tyre compounds and significantly improve tyre wear, but a flexible pit stop strategy could be crucial for the race as the weather in the mountains is unpredictable and rain can arrive with very little warning.

THE DRIVERS

Heinz-Harald Frentzen

"The European Grand Prix is almost another home race for me, as with Hockenheim and Monaco, I have several of them! I know the track well and there are always a lot of supporters at the race so you usually get a nice atmosphere here. I have already seen the new track layout on television and the changes to the first corner should be safer and that is good. They should also make overtaking easier which should be interesting, but I will wait to see it for myself."

Enrique Bernoldi

"The Nürburgring is a good track. It's quite an interesting one to drive as it has a nice selection of straights where you can get good speed, and some good corners, although most of them are quite tight. The new changes to the track should be interesting to see - as I know from my experience last year, it was very difficult to overtake on before. I was enjoying my race here last time though as I managed to make up places at the start and my car was running well. Unfortunately, I had a problem with my suspension later on so had to retire. It's really important to me that I get a good result which reflects the car's potential."

THE TEAM

Graham Taylor, OrangeArrows' Chief Race Engineer

"The Nürburgring has been modified since last year and we are yet to run on the new layout. Our simulations have shown that the circuit is still a high downforce track that requires cars to have a good set-up in order maximise the potential of the car. The A23 has run well on high downforce circuits, so it should suit our car."

"We will be keeping a close eye on the skies over the weekend, especially on Sunday, as the rain can come particularly quickly here so we will thus keep our strategy quite flexible. Heinz knows the track well which should allow us to use his knowledge to it's best advantage and Enrique gained a lot of experience in running here last year and also in F3000 so hopefully we will be able to enjoy a good performance."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Enrique Bernoldi , Michael Schumacher , Heinz-Harald Frentzen
Teams Ferrari