Hungarian GP: Bridgestone preview

Back to work with sights set on 10th title. Formula 1 resumes this weekend with the 13th round of the world championship at the Hungaroring, near Budapest. After the German Grand Prix, which was the 10th race of the season to be won on ...

Back to work with sights set on 10th title.

Formula 1 resumes this weekend with the 13th round of the world championship at the Hungaroring, near Budapest. After the German Grand Prix, which was the 10th race of the season to be won on Bridgestone tyres, all the tyres from Hockenheim were, as usual, brought back to the UK. Once the unloading and follow-up work was complete, the race engineers and technicians enjoyed a week of rest and recuperation. However, the work for Bridgestone's development engineers in Japan continued as they reacted to analysis by the race engineers of the races and tests to date. Their study centred on identifying any weaker points in Bridgestone's performance so far as well as strengths. The results will be used by staff at the technical centre to develop tyres for the rest of this season and as a basis for the 2003 tyres.

The Hungaroring, which is 19km from Hungary's beautiful capital Budapest, has hosted the Hungarian Grand Prix since 1986. It is renowned for being one of the hottest races of the season. The immediate target is to help Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro clinch the constructors' world championship, which is far from decided, while ensuring as many points as possible come to Bridgestone's teams in the remaining five races of 2002.

Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Motorsport, said: "Everyone at Bridgestone is returning to racing this weekend with their batteries re-charged and a determination to get the job done. So far, there have been only two races won by cars without Bridgestone tyres and I want to keep it that way - it is important that we maintain the record of success we have enjoyed since Monaco way back in May. We had a good race at the Hungaroring last year, with Michael Schumacher and Ferrari confirming their world championships, so I have no doubt we will perform well again this time."

The Track

The Hungaroring is the second slowest track on the calendar after Monaco and is characterised by its slow, tight corners and the smoothness of its surface.

Hisao Suganuma said: "Last year's track temperature reached 46C, which is similar to Hockenheim last month and fairly typical of the Hungaroring in August. With a configuration that is relatively straightforward, it is the heat that is the primary consideration for a tyre manufacturer. Understeer and oversteer are quite common there and since these generate heat in the tyres, they add to the problem. Two weeks ago, both tyre suppliers had a tough time at the new Hockenheim, with the heat and high speed corners contributing to blistering. It is known that pushing hard in the early laps of a race on new tyres does affect their heat durability but this improves as rubber is laid down and grip improves. However, we do not expect the same in Hungary since the track is much easier on tyres with fewer heat-generating corners."

The Tyres

The tyre choice for Hungary was made during the August break and both dry specifications have been raced before. Although it is unlikely they will be called upon, the Bridgestone rain tyre choice includes two intermediate specifications and a full wet tyre.

Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager of Bridgestone Motorsport, added: "The smoothness of the surface and the fact that the track is extra slippery because it is rarely used means grip is paramount at the Hungaroring. Normally, this would lead us to a soft compound. However, the high ambient and track temperatures usually experienced at Budapest mean there is some disadvantage in terms of heat durability with a too-soft compound. We have concentrated our development recently on finding an answer to the apparent incompatibility of grip versus heat durability. One of our specifications can be classed as an `attacking' tyre with high grip levels forecast; the other may offer a slightly more consistent performance but still with reasonable grip which is vital if you are to be competitive in Hungary."

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