Bridgestone Motorsport Silverstone GP2 Series Preview The fourth round of the Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series will take place at Silverstone, on 19-21 June, at the last British Grand Prix expected to be held at this circuit for the foreseeable...
Bridgestone Motorsport Silverstone GP2 Series Preview
The fourth round of the Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series will take place at Silverstone, on 19-21 June, at the last British Grand Prix expected to be held at this circuit for the foreseeable future. As it is likely to be a sell-out event, the atmosphere will be a great experience for the GP2 competitors.
Silverstone offers a high speed first sector which is both fast and challenging, being the main reason why the circuit is so popular with the drivers. For this event, Bridgestone's medium compound tyre will be used, the same medium compound brought here in 2008.
Traditionally, Silverstone is renowned for being tough on the tyres due to the abrasive nature of the track and the combination of high speed corners along with the low speed complex just before Pits Straight.
Tyre management is very important and has proved in previous years to be a key influencer on race results at this venue.
In 2008, the top two finishers in the championship, Giorgio Pantano (Racing Engineering) and Bruno Senna (iSport International), both took race wins at Silverstone. These drivers are not in GP2 this year, and for the first time ever there will be no British GP2 driver racing on home soil.
Quote from Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development
"For Silverstone this year, we could not move one step softer with the tyre compound. The levels of degradation in 2008 at this circuit were enough and the wear rate was reasonable. However, using the same medium specification tyre still means that the objectives of the organisers for this season will be achieved. Adjusting the compound allocation from hard to medium last year provided great racing here and this also helped prompt our one step softer strategy for other circuits this season. Due to the abrasive track surface at Silverstone, drivers will be required to consider the importance of their tyre management. The slow complex at the end of the circuit offers a challenge to the tyre and the teams, as it demands good mechanical grip from an appropriate car set up.
Stats & Facts
Number & Spec of tyres for Silverstone: 760 (medium and wet)
Pole position time 2008: 1m 26.912s - B Senna, iSport International
Fastest race lap 2008: 1m 31.994s - G Pantano, Racing Engineering (R1)
Top three 2008 race1: G Pantano (Racing Eng), L di Grassi (Campos), K Chandhok (iSport)
Bridgestone GP2 Series: Q&A with Kazuki Nakajima
Silverstone is a circuit which is renowned for being popular with the drivers. Previewing the race weekend ahead, Kazuki Nakajima, of the AT&T Williams team, spoke to Bridgestone not only about the track itself, but also his experience of GP2 before graduating to Formula One and his thoughts on Bridgestone's softer compounds for GP2 in 2009.
Q: What are your favourite parts of the track at Silverstone and what is the secret to looking after your tyres there?
A: Definitely the first sector, especially from turn two to turn four, because it is so quick and there are a lot of corners one after another. That is probably one of the most exciting sectors in the whole of the Formula One calendar. I think at Silverstone there is more of a limitation with the front tyres, you have to look after them especially in the high speed sectors. If you lean on the front too much it will easily wear the tyres, so that is probably the key factor.
Q: You had a successful weekend at Silverstone in the 2007 GP2 Series, with two podium finishes, was that a highlight of your final year in GP2?
A: For me it was the first time to be on the podium in GP2 and before that weekend I was actually not having a very good start to the season. So that was a turning point for me that year.
Q: What are your thoughts on the one step softer strategy for Bridgestone tyres in GP2 this year, do you think it is a good thing?
A: Yes, I think it is a good thing. When I was doing GP2 they had a harder compound which allowed us to run a longer distance with the one set of tyres. Actually, a lot of times I would make a very early pit stop and by having the harder compound it was still possible for me to do a good lap time at the end. So, with softer compounds I think it is more of a challenge to do this kind of strategy, and it simply makes the racing more interesting because you have to take more risks.
Q: Can you explain how the softer tyres can make a driver more skilled and perhaps more prepared for Formula One?
A: With the softer compounds it means that the drivers have to look after the tyres more, especially the rear tyres because GP2 cars do not have traction control. I think for the drivers it is an opportunity to learn how to manage the tyres. It is a good experience for them.