Bridgestone French GP preview
Bridgestone returns to Europe for the eighth round of the FIA Formula One World Championship where the soft and medium compound Potenzas will face the challenges of the Magny Cours race circuit for the Grand Prix de France.
Magny Cours presents a very different test to that of the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis two weeks ago, which is where these two compounds were last raced. Whilst Indy was all about the banking and a tight infield section, the French circuit has a rich diversity of corners and a variation in asphalt surface and thus different grip levels over its 4.411 km duration.
Between the US Grand Prix and the French Grand Prix, Bridgestone Potenza Formula One tires were out in action at two test venues between June 19-21. The medium and hard compounds were used at Silverstone, UK, by nine teams and the medium compound used in Jerez, Spain, by two teams.
Kees van de Grint, Bridgestone Motorsport Head of Track Engineering Operations
Q: What are the challenges of the Magny Cours circuit?
KvdG: The first challenge of Magny Cours is to get there, but fortunately we have a good logistics operation to ensure this happens. Once there, we find a very interesting circuit with long fast corners, which require good stability and also slow, tight corners which is where good traction is very important, as is a rapid response to a change in direction.
Magny Cours is also a challenge for the compound of tire as there are two distinct types of tarmac on the circuit and these have different characteristics. Two sectors have been resurfaced and are likely to be more slippery before they get rubbered in.
Obviously the tire compound has to be able to work over the entire circuit, and our predictions are that this should be the case. History also shows us that this can be one of the hottest races on the calendar so we will expect to see high tire temperatures.
Q: What conclusions are there from the Silverstone and Jerez tests?
KvdG: First of all it has been a pretty tough week for Bridgestone, with two partner teams testing at Jerez and everyone else testing at Silverstone, and our staff flying straight back from America to be at these tests. The Jerez test was more focused on chassis developments and less on tire evaluation.
At Silverstone we had the hard and medium compounds which we plan to use for the race but due to changes in weather and mechanical issues there was not much comparison work undertaken. The hard Potenza worked well and was consistent but the medium compound seems to be the one which will be used for the main racing during the Grand Prix. Bridgestone