Reopened in 1966, after the original oval was cut in two by the construction of the autobahn, the Hockenheimring is one of the fastest circuits in the world. Main features are a pair of dauntingly fast straights (now punctuated by chicanes) which...
Reopened in 1966, after the original oval was cut in two by the construction of the autobahn, the Hockenheimring is one of the fastest circuits in the world. Main features are a pair of dauntingly fast straights (now punctuated by chicanes) which hurtle off into dark coniferous forests and the stadium section, best described as a large, natural amphitheatre. Chassis set-up is actually more complicated than it may at first appear. The long flat-out straights, where cars reach speeds approaching 350 km/h, demand low downforce, but the second gear chicanes require good braking and chassis stability, as does the fast, fourth-gear corner that leads into the stadium section. As a result, the optimum set-up for the current, narrow-track Formula One cars at a circuit like the Hockenheimring is to run with some downforce. The slight increase in drag and subsequent loss of maximum speed along the straights is more than compensated by time gained under braking and through the tight corners.
Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda packed up their troubles at the British Grand Prix and immediately switched focus to a major test programme running concurrently in Italy and Spain.
In Monza, the team concentrated on brakes and set-up, with Olivier Panis commencing the schedule there and Jacques Villeneuve recording a best lap time of 1:25.834. In Valencia, Development Driver Patrick Lemarié completed three days of running, with the emphasis on testing chassis set-up and tyres, along with some of the brake work started in Monza.
With the benefit of a productive week behind them, the team are confident that the experience can translate into a positive result and help them recover some form.
Malcolm Oastler, Technical Director
"The Hockenheimring always presents its own unique set of challenges. The fast straights call for low downforce in order to achieve maximum speed but that has to be tempered with the need for grip in the slow section of the track. We'll be looking for a good overall compromise and using the data from last week's Monza test to find that. Bridgestone have developed another new compound and we look forward to seeing how that can help us achieve the necessary grip and deal with the very hard braking requirements. The weather can often play a key role in how the race pans out which can make things very interesting. Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda haven't had an easy time in Germany over the last two seasons but both Jacques and Olivier have been on the podium here previously. If we can find the right mix and achieve a better qualifying performance than we have of late, I think we have reason to be optimistic going into the race."