Monaco: Bridgestone preview

Bridgestone Motorsport Monaco GP2 Series Preview Returning to the most famous and glamorous of Formula One locations, the second round of the Bridgestone-backed GP2 Series will support F1 at the Monaco Grand Prix on May ...

Bridgestone Motorsport Monaco GP2 Series Preview

Returning to the most famous and glamorous of Formula One locations, the second round of the Bridgestone-backed GP2 Series will support F1 at the Monaco Grand Prix on May 13-15.

Making its only appearance on the GP2 calendar during the season, Bridgestone's super soft dry tyre will be in use here. This compound is the ideal choice for such a venue, as drivers need to obtain optimum grip on the smooth surfaces of this street course.

Monaco presents drivers with many challenges as it is a slippery track to contend with and a narrow circuit which allows for minimal driver error. Due to the nature of Monte Carlo in terms of the extremely limited run-off areas, driver concentration is vital to avoid hitting the close track-side barriers.

All drivers view Monaco as one of the most prestigious races at which to claim a victory. Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado both won races in Monaco last year using Bridgestone's super soft compound tyre.

Quote from Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development

"Following an exciting race weekend in Barcelona, Monaco will be an interesting challenge particularly for all the rookie drivers in GP2 this season, as it is a difficult track to master. Bridgestone will supply a super soft dry compound tyre to GP2 teams due to the high levels of grip required at this unique street circuit. It is the only time this year that Formula One's strongest feeder series will use this tyre. According to last year's data, wear rate is very important and drivers will need to take care when considering tyre management, ensuring minimum wheel spin and sliding. Drivers will also need to be patient as overtaking is almost impossible, making pit stop strategies crucial to a good result."

Tyre feature: How are Bridgestone's GP2 tyres made?

Tyres are one of the most important elements on a car in terms of safety and increasing performance. Races can be won and lost as a direct result of a drivers' understanding of how to use their tyres.

However, to be able to understand a tyre fully and recognise how to harness its optimum performance - it's best to go back to basics. So, how does Bridgestone make its GP2 tyres?

Bridgestone's GP2 tyres are made from rubber and advanced lightweight coat fabrics.

Rubber is used for the tread and the sidewalls, and the coat fabrics form the inside carcass and make up the belts of the tyre which provide the strength that the tyres need in order to generate the lateral and longitudinal forces to make a car turn, accelerate and brake. All of the materials used in Bridgestone Motorsport's tyres are of the highest quality.

After the tyres are assembled, they are then vulcanised which is the process of applying heat and pressure to cure the rubber and make it harder, and this is the final process before quality checks are carried out.

One layer of homogenous rubber makes up the tread of Bridgestone's GP2 and Formula One tyres, which is inline with the regulations issued for the two championships. In GP2, four dry compounds are produced - hard, medium, soft and super soft - along with one wet specification tyre. One dry compound is allocated to each race weekend dependant on the track's characteristics. Different mixtures of various elements are used to create the varying compounds in order to get the best balance between grip, durability and heat resistance for each circuit.

Bridgestone's GP2 tyre production and distribution process involves three key Bridgestone markets. All of the raw materials come from Japan, which are delivered to Bridgestone's Technical Centre in Rome, Italy, where the tyres are produced. The tyres are then distributed by Bridgestone Motorsport's headquarters in Langley, UK, to the races. Bridgestone Motorsport UK is the European headquarters for Bridgestone's motorsport operation.

It was a big challenge moving the GP2 main series tyre production from Japan to Rome in 2007, in time for Rome to supply the tyres for the start of the 2008 GP2 season. Although using a different process, the aim was to reproduce exactly the same specification of GP2 tyres that were previously made in Japan - achieving the same performance, quality and consistency.

Bridgestone's Technical Centre in Rome produces a total of approximately 12,000 Potenza tyres to cover a single season of the GP2 Series and GP2 Asia Series. Currently there are 30 members of staff involved in the GP2 tyre production process at Bridgestone's Technical Centre in Rome, including engineers, technicians, and those responsible for quality control and logistics. Quality control and safety is of the greatest importance to Bridgestone whilst making high performance tyres for GP2.

-source: bridgestone

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Series FIA F2