Silverstone: Bridgestone preview

Marking the halfway point of the 2010 Bridgestone-backed GP2 Series, the British Grand Prix at Silverstone will host the fifth round of the championship on July 9-11. Known as a fast, flowing and abrasive circuit, the medium...

Marking the halfway point of the 2010 Bridgestone-backed GP2 Series, the British Grand Prix at Silverstone will host the fifth round of the championship on July 9-11.

Known as a fast, flowing and abrasive circuit, the medium compound GP2 dry tyre will be in use at this challenging venue, which is traditionally tough on the tyres.

While the drivers will be focusing on preserving their Bridgestone Potenzas on-track, the GP2 teams will be analysing how to prepare the cars to manage the high speed corners of the first sector and the slow speed final complex before Pits Straight.

The introduction of the newly configured 5.901km Grand Prix Circuit at Silverstone also means drivers have five new turns to learn as they now go right at Abbey into the new complex, linking back to the old circuit at Brooklands. This could make for close racing between the more experienced GP2 racers and the rookies as they discover what the new section of track has to offer.

Alberto Valerio and this year's current championship leader Pastor Maldonado both won races at Silverstone in 2009 on Bridgestone's medium specification slick.

Quote from Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development
"Silverstone as a venue has always been tough on the tyres, but with the new and longer circuit it could be even harder on them. One of the reasons for this is because the revised turn at Abbey is predicted to generate more lateral force, exerting a greater load on the tyres. In addition, the new Wellington Straight will be a fast part of the track which will increase average speed; this straight also meaning the drivers will be braking hard into Brooklands. The medium compound GP2 tyre has been allocated for Silverstone as we believe it will provide the right challenge for the GP2 drivers."

Bridgestone's 'slick' operation in GP2

Bridgestone has been the sole tyre supplier to the GP2 Series since the championship's inaugural season in 2005. In its opening year the series ran on grooved dry tyres, Bridgestone and GP2 then making the move to slicks for the start of 2006. So why the change in tyres?

When Bridgestone entered GP2 in 2005 the experienced tyre manufacturer was already producing and supplying grooved dry tyres to the FIA Formula One World Championship. It made sense to begin the relationship between Formula One and GP2 by introducing the same type of tyre to the feeder series for its opening year.

The GP2 Series was an instant success during its first season, proving it had the potential to become the ultimate training ground for future Formula One stars. Whilst the grooved tyres encouraged competitive racing, the GP2 Series organisers were keen to introduce slicks for the second year of the championship.

Bridgestone's Potenza racing slicks enhanced the challenge for GP2's competitors, with GP2 lap times improving by almost three seconds as a result of the change. With the slick tyres being grooveless they are able to provide maximum contact with the track, giving superior grip and traction in dry conditions relative to grooved tyres of the same size.

After three years of running GP2 on slicks, and after the vast experience and tyre data collected by Bridgestone's engineers from the feeder series, the re-introduction was announced of slick tyres to Formula One for the start of 2009.

This gave an advantage to GP2's young competitors who had already had the chance to learn the nature and basic characteristics of Bridgestone's slick tyres. With the refuelling ban also imposed on Formula One for 2010, the GP2 Series became even closer in format to the premier championship for which it provides so many talented drivers.

-source: bridgestone

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Series FIA F2