Portimao: Bridgestone preview

The Algarve location of Portimao will provide the backdrop for the final round of the 2009 Bridgestone- supported GP2 Series. Portugal is the only stand alone event of the season, taking place on 18-20 September,...

The Algarve location of Portimao will provide the backdrop for the final round of the 2009 Bridgestone- supported GP2 Series. Portugal is the only stand alone event of the season, taking place on 18-20 September, with GP2 headlining at this impressive new venue and running on Bridgestone's soft compound dry tyre.

GP2 will be visiting the 'Autodromo Internacional do Algarve' for the first time, and Bridgestone has allocated the soft GP2 racing slick as a result of comparing the compound positioning between Formula One and GP2, using data obtained from the Formula One test which took place at Portimao in February of this year.

Portimao is one of the shorter circuits on the GP2 calendar, and having many elevation changes this will mean high traction is required from the teams' car set-ups. With many corners, the circuit is not as fast as others experienced throughout the season, but it will offer drivers numerous chances to overtake. An uneven track surface at this venue is also expected to challenge the teams' aerodynamic configurations.

Nico Hulkenberg (ART Grand Prix) secured the 2009 GP2 Series drivers' title at the previous round in Monza, however, drivers still have points to fight for and the teams' championship is yet to be decided.

Quote from Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development "Portimao is not an abrasive circuit and not so tough on the tyres because it is a relatively slow track, making the soft compound suitable for this venue. Mechanical grip and high traction is the key here to a successful car set-up and it will be interesting to see how the GP2 teams perform, especially as they have no previous experience of racing at Portimao. We would expect the downhill stretch leading into the first corner to be one of the main passing points, although there should be many opportunities for the GP2 drivers to provide entertaining racing at this end of season event."

Bridgestone GP2 Series: Q&A with Alvaro Parente

Portuguese GP2 driver Alvaro Parente has been driving this season with the Portuguese team Ocean Racing Technology. Following his win in the feature race at Spa Francorchamps, Alvaro explained to Bridgestone e-reporter finalist Nicola Del Medico how he will prepare for the last race weekend in Portimao and spoke about his future prospects.

Q: Let's talk about the Portimao Autodromo do Algarve: is it a challenging track for drivers?

A: I think it will be a very difficult track, with some very challenging parts. I haven't driven that many laps there and, actually, I have only tried it in a road car. I hope to have more laps in the road car so I can get to know the track better. I'm sure it's not going to be an easy circuit.

Q: For the Portimao race weekend Bridgestone has chosen soft compound dry tyres. Are these tyres suitable for the track?

A: I think so. However, as I haven't tried the track in a race car, I don't know what will happen. But I'm sure that Bridgestone's choice is the best one. The track looks very wide and I don't think it's too abrasive: that's why the soft compound has been chosen.

Q: How much does the choice of tyres influence a team's strategy?

A: It depends on the set-up of your car. Fortunately, at Ocean Racing Technology we have found a very good compromise with all tyres, especially with the soft compound that was used in Spa.

Q: What do you think about Bridgestone as the only manufacturer supplying all the teams?

A: It's perfect. For sure they do a good job.

Q: You have been the first Portuguese driver to win a race in the GP2 Series and with your success at Spa you gave Ocean Racing Technology its first GP2 victory. Are you hoping to set any other records?

A: I want to do my best at every race weekend. The goal I want to achieve at the end of the season is to score as many points as possible. Having a good end of season is very important to a driver who wants to move on with his career and reach F1. I'm also working hard to give Ocean what they deserve so we move up the teams' table as well as the drivers' table.

Q: How do you judge your two year long career in GP2?

A: I have had good results but also some results that are not so good. Last year I was a little bit more competitive with every compound and on every track. This year I'm currently sixth in the drivers' championship. I have been very fast all the time; and in every qualifying session I'm always in the top seven.

Q: In January 2008 you tested for the Renault F1 team. Have you received any offers from the world of F1 since then?

A: I keep in touch with that world but I have nothing special to reveal just now.

-credit: gp2

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Series FIA F2
Drivers Alvaro Parente