Bridgestone will bring its two stickiest tyres to the Hungarian Grand Prix on July 24-26 which takes place on the tight and twisty 4.38km Hungaroring, one of the lowest grip circuits on the calendar. The soft and super soft Bridgestones will be used in Hungary. This is the same combination as used in Monaco, and means that the general convention of leaving a rubber hardness gap between the two tyres Bridgestone brings to a race is not employed.
The reason for this is the slippery surface of the Hungaroring circuit which does not receive much use during the course of the year, except for during the Grand Prix weekend. The Hungaroring is a noteworthy venue for Bridgestone as it was very nearly the venue of the first Formula One race win on Bridgestone tyres, when Damon Hill came within a lap of winning the 1997 race for Arrows.
Hiroshi Yasukawa – Director of Bridgestone Motorsport, said: "Hungary is an important market for Bridgestone and it is also the home of our Tatabanya plant, which was officially opened in 2008. This plant uses our new fully-automated production system which is called BIRD (Bridgestone Innovative & Rational Development). This is the most automated tyre production system in the world, and shows that Bridgestone uses advanced technology and processes not only for our Formula One involvement."
Q&A with Hirohide Hamashima - Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development
What are the challenges of the Hungaroring? The Hungaroring is an interesting circuit, especially as it is not used much during the year. This means the circuit grip levels experienced on Friday are likely to be very different from those experienced in the race. For deciding set-up and tyre strategy, this makes things difficult, and competitors will have to work hard. Tyre management, particularly with graining, is very important, and qualifying position is crucial as overtaking is difficult. Also, we are ever mindful of the weather as it can get very hot there, although we have seen rain in the past, notably when Jenson Button scored his first F1 race victory in 2006.
Why has the tyre allocation gap not occurred for this race? We are bringing consecutive tyres from our range to Hungary because of the slippery surface and the circuit layout. This is the slowest speed permanent race circuit that we visit during the course of the season, and the surface itself is not aggressive enough to help generate heat in the tyres. The super soft and the soft Bridgestones are both from our low temperature working range of tyres. This makes it easier for the teams and drivers to generate heat and get the best performance from them.