Bridgestone ready for Nürbürgring challenge

By on

The Nurburgring presents the next challenge for Bridgestone Potenza Formula One tyres with the soft and medium compounds in use at the 5.15 km circuit, the scene of the Grand Prix of Europe on July 20-22.

A mixture of very fast, medium fast and slow corners means the Nurburgring requires a compromise on set- up with high grip from the Bridgestones required in the twisty sections, but lower downforce providing an advantage along the straights.

The grand prix is taking place later in the year than usual, with the race running in late July, compared to the May date which is more normally the case for the Nurburgring event. This should mean hotter temperatures, although the current weather in the region does not support that theory. Either way, this season’s Bridgestone Potenzas have a wide temperature operating window.

Two pit stops seems to be the norm for this circuit in years gone by, with last year’s race won on Bridgestone tyres by Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) with Fernando Alonso (Renault) coming second and Felipe Massa (Ferrari) registering his first F1 podium appearance with third place.

Q&A Kees van de Grint, Bridgestone Motorsport Head of Track Engineering Operations:

What are the challenges of the Nurburgring circuit?

“After the flat of the former airfield of Silverstone, we now have the undulations of the Nurburgring which reflect the Eifel region in which it is based. We know this circuit pretty well. Tyre grip, traction and braking performance are all of great importance, especially in sectors one and three. The biggest challenge is our decision to bring the soft compound Bridgestone Potenza, as all our experience is based on this circuit in the spring. We will have to see if our predictions are correct. The Eifel region can produce unpredictable weather, so it’s a little bit of an unknown for us. I believe we’ve made the right choice, but you never know with the Nurburgring!”

There has been no testing at the Nurburgring this season, does this make a difference?

“I can’t remember the last time we tested at the Nurburgring, and this means that our only chance to confirm our tyre choice is at the race itself. It means that teams also have less data to work from. BMW Sauber were at the Nurburgring earlier this season, but any data collected from Nick Heidfeld’s laps on the 20.8 km Nordschleife is not very useful for the forthcoming race. It would make me worry if Heidfeld took eight minutes to complete a lap for the Grand Prix!”

Stats & Facts

Number & Spec of tyres for Nurburgring: 2,200 (inc. wet/extreme wets and soft & medium dry specs) Pole position time 2006: 1min 29.819secs (F Alonso, Renault) Fastest race lap 2006: 1min 32.099secs (M Schumacher, Ferrari) Top three 2006: M Schumacher, F Alonso, F Massa,