European GP Benetton preview

Pat Symonds, Technical Director: "In preparation for the European Grand Prix, the team has spent three days at Jerez in southern Spain. This circuit was chosen as it has some similarities to the Nüburgring. One car was used to evaluate ...

Pat Symonds, Technical Director:
"In preparation for the European Grand Prix, the team has spent three days at Jerez in southern Spain. This circuit was chosen as it has some similarities to the Nüburgring. One car was used to evaluate test drivers, while with the second we looked at specific set-ups for this weekend's race and continued the aerodynamic and chassis development programme that has been running for the last few weeks."

"The team also used the opportunity to evaluate the extra soft compound tyre which Bridgestone will be taking to the Nüburgring and which has not been run yet this season. In general, the test was very successful and both drivers were pleased with the both the balance of the car and its level of competitiveness."

"Perhaps the most unusual thing about the Nüburgring this year is likely to be the weather as for the first time we are racing there during the summer. This leads to some complications when assessing our data and experience from previous years when we have always raced on a cold circuit. This will be particularly difficult in the selection of tyres and hence the strategy employed in the race."

"However, in spite of the hotter track temperatures, it is still expected that most team will try to run the extra- soft tyre and attempt to race on a two-stop strategy. As with most circuits, qualifying will be of the utmost importance, but at Nüburgring there are a few overtaking opportunities, particularly under braking on the back straight into the very tight chicane. This has lead to some exciting moments in previous races."

Alexander Wurz describes a lap of the Nüburgring:
"Nüburgring is a very traditional track and I need a good set-up with not too much understeer to be quick. The lap starts on the pit straight where, depending on the wind, the highest speed on the circuit is reached, this is approximately 295 km/h on the approach to the first corner. This corner is taken in 3rd gear for the right-hand section then for the left-hand part I maintain 3rd gear and almost full acceleration on a qualifying lap."

"Then a short straight where I reach over 270 km/h in 5th gear leads into a difficult part of the circuit with a fast left-hand corner taken in 4th at around 185 km/h, this is immediately followed by a tight right-hand 2nd gear corner taken at just under 110 km/h. Next is another short straight where I reach about 280 km/h before the tight 2nd gear hairpin which I take at just over 90 km/h. Traction out of this corner is very important as it leads into a very fast kink taken in 5th gear at 250 km/h. This corner is almost flat, I just lift off slightly and dab the brakes at same time to stabilise the car."

"Out of this corner I accelerate up to over 290 km/h in top gear before going into the two third gear left and right-hand corners which lead on to the back straight. These are taken at 145 km/h and 155 km/h respectively. The long straight to the chicane is generally the fastest part of the circuit (depending on the wind) where I reach around 300 km/h before braking very hard for the second gear chicane, which is taken at around 100 km/h. On the approach to the final corner, I get up to 225 km/h in 4th gear before dropping back to 2nd gear and 110 km/h for this important corner which leads back on to the pit straight."

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Alexander Wurz
Teams Benetton