Monaco: Bridgestone preview

Bridgestone's new super soft compound GP2 Series slick tyre will make its debut at the glamorous venue of Monte Carlo for the second round of the GP2 Series, held as part of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend on May 21-24. The tight and twisty 3.34km...

Bridgestone's new super soft compound GP2 Series slick tyre will make its debut at the glamorous venue of Monte Carlo for the second round of the GP2 Series, held as part of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend on May 21-24.

The tight and twisty 3.34km street course presents a difficult challenge for drivers. For most of the year it is passenger vehicles rather than racing cars that drive on the streets of Monaco so the surface is a lot smoother than is found at a dedicated race facility.

As the track surface is exceptionally slippery, grip is at a premium meaning that Bridgestone's softest GP2 tyre is used. The super soft compound is new for this season and drivers will have to work hard to get the maximum from it as any mistakes in Monaco are punished by the ever-present Armco barriers which line the track.

In 2008 Bruno Senna (iSport) and Mike Conway (Trident) both took race wins in Monaco. Neither driver is contesting this season, however Pastor Maldonado, who won the race here in 2007 for Trident, will be in action once more, now racing for ART Grand Prix.

Quote from Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development "Monaco is an interesting venue for our new super soft compound GP2 Series tyre to make its debut as track grip is always limited here, so you need a very sticky tyre. For drivers, there are not many overtaking opportunities, so qualifying is more important as the drivers need to start from a strong position on the grid to have a good chance of getting a good result. Driver concentration is essential as the circuit is known for its limited amount of run off area."

Stats & Facts
Number & Spec of tyres for Monaco 760 (super soft and wet)
Pole position time 2008: 1m 21.057s - P Maldonado, Piquet Sports
Fastest race lap 2008: 1m 21.278s - A Zuber, Piquet Sports (R2)
Top three 2008 race1: B Senna (iSport), P Maldonado (Piquet Sports), K Chandhok (iSport)
Top three 2008 race 2: M Conway (Trident), H Tung (Trident), A Parente (Super Nova)

Bridgestone GP2 Series: Q&A with Karun Chandhok

The Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series heads to the glittering port of Monte Carlo for the twists and turns of the Monaco Grand Prix. For many, it is the highlight of the season. For young drivers wanting to make their mark, Monaco offers a superb opportunity as they dice for position in front of motor sport's decision makers. Indian driver Karun Chandhok, who achieved a podium finish in the Principality last year, returns this season with new team, Ocean Racing Technology. He spoke to Bridgestone e-reporter finalist Ferran Lopez Margall.

Q: It's your third season in GP2, surely it will be challenging with a new team?

A: Definitely. We were very quick in the March pre-season test. We had both cars in the top six and thought we were going to be in good shape for Barcelona. Then it came to qualifying and me and my team-mate, Alvaro Parente, were both struggling for grip. We need to understand better how the track changes between the winter test and in the summer with Formula One rubber. We also have to understand how the tyres work, that's the main thing, especially with new compounds from Bridgestone this year.

Q: You were third last year in Monaco, is it a circuit that you enjoy?

A: It's one of my favourites. I think Monaco is something special, for sure. It's a fantastic place to drive and any driver who doesn't love driving at Monaco is a very strange human being. One of the best parts of our job is racing in places like Spa, Monaco and Silverstone. It's mega, really, really mega.

Q: As a street circuit, what unique aspects of the track are more difficult than a normal race circuit?

A: All the walls are very close and if you make a mistake it normally hurts quite badly, that's the problem in Monaco. It's not physically difficult, since the g-forces are low because you are not going quickly, but it's mentally the most challenging race of the season because you can not make a mistake. Even in Valencia, the other street race, you have some margin for error but in Monaco you are just against the wall. It's fantastic, I love it.

Q: What are your thoughts on the general move towards softer tyres in GP2 this season? Will the focus on tyre management be good preparation for Formula One?

A: I think so, but it is very different because they normally do two pits stops versus our one, and the weight distribution of a Formula One car is different. Essentially though it is good for spectators mainly because you see tyre wear and you see better racing. I think it is more of a challenge for the engineers and the drivers together to get a car that gets the tyres to last. It's a good challenge.

-credit: bridgestone

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About this article
Series FIA F2
Drivers Karun Chandhok , Mike Conway , Alvaro Parente , Pastor Maldonado , Bruno Senna
Teams ART Grand Prix , Trident