Valencia SC: Bridgestone preview

Bridgestone Motorsport Valencia GP2 Series Preview The seventh round of the Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series will take place at the European Grand Prix in Valencia, on 21-23 August. Valencia's modern street circuit makes its second ever...

Bridgestone Motorsport Valencia GP2 Series Preview

The seventh round of the Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series will take place at the European Grand Prix in Valencia, on 21-23 August. Valencia's modern street circuit makes its second ever appearance on the GP2 calendar, and offers drivers the chance to work with the soft tyre for the third time this season.

Bridgestone has made a change from 2008 when the medium specification tyre was brought to Valencia, the soft compound being allocated for this year's event.

With warm weather and high track temperatures expected during the race weekend, drivers will need to anticipate how their car set-up can be adjusted to ensure effective management of tyre degradation.

In 2008, Campos stole the limelight in GP2 at Valencia's street circuit during its Formula One debut event, as team-mates Vitaly Petrov and Lucas di Grassi both won races here.

Quote from Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development

"Valencia is a very high speed street course, with drivers experiencing the highest speeds after the bridge in the second sector. It is much faster than Monaco and due to the hard braking required in Valencia the drivers need to be careful not to flat spot the tyres. In addition, being a street circuit, high levels of concentration and car control are essential as there is not much room for driver error. It can also be difficult to overtake, with the best chance being at turn twelve. Degradation is expected to be fairly high due to the hot weather and high track temperatures anticipated."

Bridgestone GP2 Series: Q&A with Lucas di Grassi

Lucas di Grassi is now in his fourth GP2 main season and is currently with the Fat Burner Racing Engineering team. He has just missed out on the title twice, but won the Valencia sprint race last season. That puts the Brazilian driver in the hot seat for this year's title fight and makes him a perfect person to interview ahead of the Valencia round, which is the second street circuit on the calendar. Bridgestone e-reporter finalist Tim Biesbrouck took on the role of interviewing this charismatic driver.

Q: The Valencia street circuit is one of the two street circuits on this year's calendar, do you like racing on this type of circuit?

A: I really do like racing on street circuits, mainly because the feeling of speed is greater and the walls are nearer to you. And on top of that, there is no room for mistakes. I really enjoy driving on the Monaco circuit and I won the second race in Valencia last year. Valencia is a great circuit and it was a great experience when I drove there for the first time. There are a lot of straights, overtaking possibilities are good and the circuit is well made and safe. Valencia is also a beautiful city to host a Grand Prix weekend.

Q: In what ways can you compare it with the Monaco circuit?

A: Honestly I find Monaco nicer to drive, because it's more technical and difficult. In comparison with Monaco, the Spanish circuit is very wide and open, so you can miss your braking point and still come back. If you make one single mistake in Monaco, you are finished.

Q: Last year you drove on medium compound tyres during the Valencia race weekend and it will switch to soft tyres this year. Will that improve your overall performance there?

A: I think it will improve my performance. Like in Turkey we switched from hard to medium and we gained performance. So, I expect the same will happen in Valencia. If it's really hot, then the tyres will show degradation. Sometimes they get overheated, so that's our only main concern with conserving the tyres. Of course I find it better to race with softer tyres because the grip level with new tyres is really high and you can do really fast laps. So I think it's a really good solution to go on softs for Valencia.

Q: What strategy would you use to conserve your tyres in Valencia?

A: We change the set-up of the car during the weekend and you really have to think about your driving style. The race is different from qualifying, because in qualifying you need to push one hundred percent and during the race you need to take care and make sure the tyres will hold for the race. There is not much grip in Valencia, which is normal for street circuits, so I expect we won't have high tyre wear. I don't have concerns about it.

Q: After winning the sprint race in Valencia, you moved into the title battle. Do you think you are able to strengthen your position in the championship there?

A: Yes definitely. We had a good start to the season, but we wasted some points. It was not because of our performance, so I believe we are in a good position to catch up, getting back into the title fight. But the season is long and there are still many points to collect. It can turn around much quicker in GP2 than in other series. I really need to concentrate to get the most out of the weekend and we will see what happens next.

-credit: bridgestone

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About this article
Series FIA F2
Drivers Lucas di Grassi , Vitaly Petrov