German GP: Bridgestone preview

Chase for points continues in Germany Five time Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher can expect a hero's welcome at his home grand prix in Germany this weekend following his win at Magny-Cours that clinched the drivers' title. The ...

Chase for points continues in Germany

Five time Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher can expect a hero's welcome at his home grand prix in Germany this weekend following his win at Magny-Cours that clinched the drivers' title.

The Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver took the world crown in record time, but the constructors' championship remains undecided. Bridgestone is working closely with Ferrari to secure that title as soon as possible.

Formula 1 travels to Hockenheim just a few days after the French Grand Prix for the second of two back-to-back races. The Hockenheimring has hosted the German Grand Prix annually for the past 25 years, but this year's visit is to all-new circuit and a track that is shorter, curvier and with improved viewing for spectators. In the 12 months since the 2001 race, the old Hockenheimring has undergone massive alterations.

The track has been reduced from 6.825km (4.238 miles) to 4.574km (2.842 miles) in length which equates to about 22 seconds in lap time, with a top speed of up to 320km/h. The cars will race for 67 laps instead of 45 and the estimated pole position lap time is now in the mid-1:16s.

The German Grand Prix is the last race before Formula 1 takes a short break before resuming the rest of the European season at Budapest in mid-August.

Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Motorsport:

"Whilst we have been able to enjoy a short celebration following Michael's win in France and another world title on Bridgestone tyres, there are still six races to go before the end of the season and many points to be won by our cars. Our immediate target is to ensure Ferrari wins the constructors' world championship but we also want to help all our drivers climb up the points table. Last year's German Grand Prix was not won by a car on Bridgestone tyres so we go to Hockenheim with something to prove."

The Track

The most obvious change to the track configuration is a new left hand curve, the Parabolika Kurve, which carves a swathe through the centre of the old circuit and is the longest 'straight' of the new layout. This leads to a hairpin, the Spitzkehre, after which the cars rejoin the old track before peeling off right through three new turns then into the old stadium section.

Hisao Suganuma Technical Manager of Bridgestone Motorsport:

"Without any direct experience of the 'new' Hockenheim, we have to rely on simulation and experience from other tracks with similar characteristics and average speeds. Since there are more corners in the revised layout, the cars will carry more downforce. We know Hockenheim is similar to Magny-Cours and Nurburgring in terms of average speed but we cannot say how the tyres will behave. The new parts of the track seem to be smoother than the old circuit, but we still need to find out what effect the new corners have on the tyres. This will become clear as the weekend progresses."

The Tyres

Bridgestone has a new development tyre for Hockenheim, while the other dry weather specification has been used at a recent race. The rain tyre choice will be different to that at Magny-Cours last weekend.

Hisao Suganuma added: "The old, ultra fast Hockenheimring was renowned for being a power track and one of the fastest on the calendar. For tyres it was a challenge in terms of heat durability; with the new track we can go with softer compounds but still within the medium range. They should be consistent and durable while still providing the grip required for the slow in-field section. Achieving a fast lap will be a matter of grip performance."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Hiroshi Yasukawa
Teams Ferrari