German GP Prost preview

The 12th round of the 2001 F1 Championship will take place on Sunday July 29th at the Hockenheimring, which will host the 75th German Grand Prix. The first one indeed took place in June 1926, even before the official birth of the F1 World ...

The 12th round of the 2001 F1 Championship will take place on Sunday July 29th at the Hockenheimring, which will host the 75th German Grand Prix. The first one indeed took place in June 1926, even before the official birth of the F1 World Championship in 1950. Formula One visited the Hockenheim track for the first time in 1970, and the circuit became the permanent home of the German Grand Prix only after Niki Lauda's terrible accident in 1976 at the Nurburgring.

Hockenheim's 6,823 kilometer track is one of the longest but also fastest track of the season. It is particularly demanding on power plants running at top speed during most of the race, and also on brakes, which must permit a deceleration of more than 260 km/h in a few hundred meters, to enter the three chicanes and the final Stadium section. The track offers only a few significant corners and is not as abrasive as other circuits of the Championship. This means tyre performance is less a question of grip than durability, as they must endure sustained high temperatures throughout the race. Therefore the Hockenheim track is not as challenging for drivers as it is for the engineers.

If many remember the irruption of a protester on the track during the 2000 German Grand Prix, for the Prost Acer team, last year's edition was marked by Jean Alesi's impressive accident and Nick Heidfeld's retirement 5 laps before the end (alternator failure). However the Hockenheim track has often been favourable to the Prost Acer cars in the past (Jarno Trulli 4th in 97, Olivier Panis 6th in 99) and the team is even more looking forward to take up good results again.

Henri Durand, Technical Director "Hockenheim is a very fast track which looks like no other in the Championship except Monza. It requires specific preparation, as it offers three long straights, allowing the cars to reach about 350km/h, and ends in a twisty and slow section called the Stadium. Setting up the cars is a matter of compromise between an excellent top speed in the straights and the necessary downforce level to ensure a good balance in the corners.

"This track is a trial for tyres, engines and cars running most of the race at full capacity, and in this respect, the reliability level we have shown since the start of the season will be an important asset for us. Besides, the team completed their preparation for the German Grand Prix during a two-day test last week at the Michelin track with Jonathan Cochet : we will arrive at Hockenheim with specific aerodynamic elements among which a new front and rear wing."

-Prost

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jarno Trulli , Jean Alesi , Olivier Panis , Nick Heidfeld , Niki Lauda