Italian GP Bridgestone Preview

Monza, August/ 29/ 1999 With its high speed straights and superfast corners interrupted by three chicane complexes, the 5.77 km Monza circuit presents the F1 teams with some difficult choices in the setup of their cars. It is also a tough test...

Monza, August/ 29/ 1999 With its high speed straights and superfast corners interrupted by three chicane complexes, the 5.77 km Monza circuit presents the F1 teams with some difficult choices in the setup of their cars. It is also a tough test for the durability of engines, suspensions and brakes, as Mika Hakkinen discovered during last year's Italian GP when a brake problem cost him his lead late in the race, allowing Michael Schumacher to snatch a victory at the last minute.

Tyres are submitted to equally gruelling punishment at Monza, where Bridgestone has already been able to evaluate the equipment which will be used in the Italian Grand Prix. As always at Monza, the teams reduce downforce to the minimum in order to achieve the fastest possible maximum speeds, which leads to instability under braking and in traction as the drivers struggle to negotiate the slow-speed chicanes.

"It is on the basis of our testing at Monza in July that we have decided to offer the teams the choice of our Medium and Hard specification tyres," says Yoshihiko Ichikawa, Technical Manager of Bridgestone Motorsport.

"The Hard specification has been available to us since the beginning of the season, but this is the first time it has been an option at a race," explains Ichikawa. "It was logical to bring it to Monza in view of the fact that we experienced some blistering on several cars at the high-speed Hockenheim circuit, although I believe that the Medium compound will be the more likely choice when it comes to Saturday afternoon.

"The policy of manufacturing our dry-weather tyres in four different compounds was reached after it became clear that we would be the only tyre manufacturer supplying F1 this year," continues Ichikawa.

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Mika Hakkinen