Track changes create new challenge Formula 1 got its first taste of changes made to the Nurburgring in today's free practice sessions for the European Grand Prix. The revisions to the German track start at the first corner which is now a tight,...
Track changes create new challenge
Formula 1 got its first taste of changes made to the Nurburgring in today's free practice sessions for the European Grand Prix. The revisions to the German track start at the first corner which is now a tight, downhill hairpin, leading into a new infield section. The changes add half a kilometre (0.36 miles) to each lap so today's sessions gave the first indication of how much the new layout has increased lap times on last year's best Friday time of 1:16.408.
Today's fastest lap by a car with Bridgestone tyres was Michael Schumacher's 1:32.041. His Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro teammate Rubens Barrichello was 4th with a 1:32.969. Also in the top ten for Bridgestone was Olivier Panis, with Honda's new spec engine in his Lucky Strike B.A.R.
Hisao Suganuma, technical manager of Bridgestone Motorsport:
"In spite of the way the time sheets look, I am not worried because we know that, as usual, different levels of fuel were being run today. We had no problems with wear and both specifications have the potential to be competitive. We will be taking a close look at the tyres this evening to see if the new section of the track has had any direct effect on the tyres."
The Tyre Choice
Both dry weather specifications Bridgestone has brought to the Nurburgring are from the softer end of the compound range for a track that is low on grip and relatively mild in terms of wear. Hisao Suganuma said: "Although both tyres have a softer compound there was a fairly clear difference in the way they performed today, with the harder of the two showing better stability while the softer obviously provided more grip. If the weather stays the same as today, I think we will see both being used in Qualifying tomorrow."
Ross Brawn, technical director of Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro:
"A normal Friday practice, doing the best job we could and recovering from the England World Cup result! We tried both tyres - the softer is faster but may be a little less consistent. It is quite difficult to get a good balance here with the complex of corners. The new section is quite interesting and quite a challenge and the drivers have not found a good rhythm through there yet. Braking is difficult because the track there is quite bumpy so we need to find a good compromise between the normal chassis sessions and something that will give us a chance in that area of avoiding locking brakes. Overall it was quite a good day."