German GP Williams preview

The Grand Prix circus will visit Germany for the second time this year when it descends on the Hockenheim Circuit at the end ofJuly. Germany has a great wealth of racing history and obviously the race will be another special one for the BMW ...

The Grand Prix circus will visit Germany for the second time this year when it descends on the Hockenheim Circuit at the end ofJuly. Germany has a great wealth of racing history and obviously the race will be another special one for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team, as this is the one nearest to BMW's Munich HQ. This will be the 49th German Grand Prix and the 25th at the Hockenheim track, which is equidistant from the industrial town of Mannheim and the beautiful tourist spot of Heidelberg. WilliamsF1 has won seven German Grands Prix, which includes a hat-trick in '91, '92 and '93. It also has special memories for BMW Motorsport Director, Gerhard Berger, as it was here in'97 that he was on pole, set the fastest lap and won the race for the final time in his Formula 1 career. This is a track where the team cannot test, so its preparation this week has been at Monza, a track with similar characteristics, for a four-day test.

Ralf Schumacher
"It's my second home country Grand Prix this season and I will be looking forward to the unique atmosphere in the motodrom, which is like driving in a football stadium. Hockenheim is not particularly exciting from a driver's point of view, but there are some good overtaking opportunities. The most difficult thing is to achieve the right car set-up, as you have to find enough downforce for the twisty motodrom section and high speed for the long straights. As long as it doesn't rain we should be well prepared for this race."

Juan Pablo Montoya
"I have always finished well at Hockenheim, although sometimes I have not qualified as well as I would have liked to. This will be my third visit there and so it should improve my knowledge of the track. The Monza test has been extremely useful for us because our performance in Germany will depend on many of the factors we see at Monza, such as the importance of fuel levels. All in all, we have a good car and should be competitive there."

Sam Michael, Chief Operations Engineer
"Hockenheim is the lowest downforce circuit, putting a premium on engine power and aero efficiency. Set-up-wise the car requires something a bit different to enable the drivers to be quick through the chicanes and the slow motodrom, but also to handle the long braking after the straights. Tyre selection will be crucial and Michelin are taking two tyres that we know. Rear tyre degradation is usually an issue here, but it may be less so this year thanks to traction control. It is a circuit that no team tests on so you have to react quickly during the practice sessions, particularly with tyre compound choice. Strategy is usually quite predictable, but last year the race was won here by quite a different approach, although helped by rain and a safety car. Our drivers will be looking forward to plenty of overtaking opportunities because of the long straights."

Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director
"The high-speed Hockenheim circuit, with its long straights, should suit us. The season so far has shown we are very well-prepared in terms of engine power, and engine-wise Hockenheim is the most demanding circuit. There is a high proportion of driving under full load and the use of high revs for a long time as well. For this reason Hockenheim is the reference circuit for our engine on the test bench. We have had a very intensive test at Monza, where we worked on further development of engine functions and prepared ourselves for Hockenheim using the characteristics of the Italian track, which are similar."

· This will be the 49thGerman Grand Prix and the 25th at the Hockenheim track. The race has also been held at the Avus circuit once and the Nurburgring 23 times. Germany and Italy are the only two countries to currently host two Grands Prix - thanks to the San Marino race in Italy and the European Grand Prix in Germany - but while there have been a total of 56 races held in Germany, in terms of numbers it comes a poor second to Italy where there have been 72. The 2000 race did not come second to any other in terms of action as it was perhaps one of the most exciting and dramatic on record with both wet weather and a French interloper on the track playing their part. At the end of the race all the damp was not from the rain, as first time GP winner and Ferrari driver, Rubens Barrichello, cried unashamedly on the podium. Although Barrichello started 18th his tactics were superb with him staying out at the end of the race in wet conditions on dry tyres. The circuit is 4.242 miles (6.825 km) long and the 45-lap race will be 190.879 miles (307.125 km) long. The race will start at 14.00 local time (12.00 BST) on Sunday, 29th July. The lap record was set last year by Barrichello with a time of 1m 44.300s (146.376mph/235.570km/h).

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Williams