US GP: Bridgestone preview

Brickyard-bound for penultimate race With the motor-homes packed up for the last time in 2002, Formula 1 leaves Europe behind and heads west for the third United States Grand Prix at the famous `Brickyard' in Indianapolis. The historic...

Brickyard-bound for penultimate race

With the motor-homes packed up for the last time in 2002, Formula 1 leaves Europe behind and heads west for the third United States Grand Prix at the famous `Brickyard' in Indianapolis.

The historic circuit, the self-proclaimed "racing capital of the world", hosts the penultimate race of the 2002 season with just the Japanese Grand Prix to go on October 13.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was built in 1909 and the famous Indianapolis 500 race - one of three major annual events at the track - has taken place there since 1911. A new road circuit, control tower, garages and a four-storey media centre were added prior to the first Formula 1 grand prix at the IMS in 2000. American sports fans love their motor-racing and an estimated 200,000 spectators watched the inaugural grand prix at Indy.

Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Motorsport:

"A Ferrari win at Monza is very special and the result of the Italian Grand Prix just over a week ago was a fitting way for the European season to come to an end. With just two races to go it is vital that we continue our strong performances to help our teams and to finish the season in good shape. This year we have taken back the races that were not won on Bridgestone tyres last year but we must continue to stay ahead - this is important for our engineers' confidence as we go into winter testing."

The Track

A track of two halves, racing at Indy once a year represents a different experience for Formula 1's drivers: the twisty in-field section is fairly typical but then this is combined with the banked last corner and 200mph hour pit straight of the more frequently used and usually anti-clockwise oval (Formula 1 drives it clockwise so turn one of the oval becomes turn 13 on the grand prix circuit). Drivers enjoy the track because it offers a number of overtaking opportunities.

Hisao Suganuma, Technical manager of Bridgestone Motorsport:

"Having left the slow in-field section, the cars enter the banked area but they only use part of the banking so the effect is not enormous. Heat durability is important but not so much of an issue as, for example, at Monza where the speed is fast and sustained. The load through the tyres is higher than normal because of the banking but not to the degree where it is a concern. Most of the lap time comes from the twisty in-field section; it's vital not to gain too much time there and that means having tyres that provide plenty of grip to give the driver the confidence to push."

The Tyres

Bridgestone has developed one new dry weather tyre for the United States Grand Prix; the second specification has been raced before. Once again, the rain tyre combination consists of two intermediate tyres and a normal wet tyre.

Hisao Suganuma added: "With the varied demands of Indy, it's inevitable that there are a number of key issues with regard to the tyres. The track surface is quite smooth so we are looking for maximum grip from the tyres especially in the slow corners. This means choosing specifications from the softer range of compounds. However, most of the teams are likely to choose a one-stop strategy so in going softer we have to look out for the wear rate. On top of that, if it is warm and sunny heat durability is another factor because there is a direct correlation between this and the softness of the compound."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Hiroshi Yasukawa
Teams Ferrari