Super soft Bridgestones for Hungary Formula One competitors make a return to Bridgestone’s super soft compound Potenza for the Hungarian Grand Prix, where Bridgestone’s softest tire in the 2007 F1 tire range is paired with the soft compound for the tight, twisty and slippery 4.38 km track. It’s the 22nd running of the race known locally as Magyar Nagydíj, and appropriately enough all 22 cars in the field are equipped with Bridgestone Potenzas.
The track provides a very particular challenge for teams and drivers. It’s tight and twisty, which precludes sustained high speed running, but it also has something of a reputation as a car-breaker. The weather is always an important factor in any grand prix, with the importance of correct tire choice for the conditions illustrated perfectly by the European Grand Prix last time out. With part of Europe under flood conditions and part of Europe experiencing a heat wave, Hungary could be interesting, although advance predictions are showing hot and sunny conditions.
The track is very smooth, meaning the softest compounds are used, but the hot weather and graining- inducing nature of the track mean that tire management will be critical over the race weekend and particularly in the race. Last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix was affected by uncharacteristic rain. It was won by Honda Racing’s Jenson Button, who scored his first F1 race victory. Button won by over half a minute from McLaren Mercedes’ Pedro de la Rosa with BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld coming third.
So what challenges does the Hungaroring present for the tires?
“The smooth surface and the fact that the circuit is not used that often means it’s a low grip circuit so we will bring the softest compounds in our range to provide the required grip,” explained Kees van de Grint, Bridgestone Motorsport Head of Track Engineering Operations. “The circuit characteristics are very inviting for graining to be suffered on the tires, mainly on the front. Normally the temperatures in Budapest are quite high, which means a real challenge for the softer compounds. Qualifying position is crucial at this circuit. Overtaking is very difficult, so warm up and initial lap times are very important for the drivers. If you don’t start on the front row the chance of winning is slim, unless you come up with a very clever strategy. Qualifying performance and thereafter, tire management, are the key factors here.”
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