Hockenheimring: Bridgestone preview
The Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series heads to the forests of Germany and the circuit of Hockenheim for round six of the hotly-contested championship which provides the F1 drivers of tomorrow.
The 4.57 km Hockenheim track features 17 corners of varying intensity, ranging from the fast and sweeping Turn Five to the tight hairpin Turn Six which follows it. It's a real compromise circuit in terms of set-up, and one which puts heavy loads through the tires at almost every point of a lap.
Bridgestone's medium compound Potenza slick GP2 tire will be used here, the same tire as used at the previous race at Silverstone. There was no round in Hockenheim last year, so teams and drivers will have to work hard to acquaint themselves with the requirements of the circuit and devise their strategies for the two races which take place over the Grand Prix weekend.
In 2006, Italian driver Gianmaria Bruni (Trident Racing) and German driver Timo Glock (iSport International) won a race apiece at Hockenheim. Neither driver is contesting this season's championship, leaving the way open for the 26 drivers who do line up on the grid to make their mark.
Heading to Hockenheim, Giorgio Pantano (Racing Engineering) leads the championship with 50 points from Bruno Senna (iSport) on 39. Sebastien Buemi (Arden) is in third place on 25 points. The teams' championship is led by iSport with 58 points, from Racing Engineering on 53. Campos are in third position with 45 points.
Quote from Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tire Development
"GP2 will run on the medium compound Bridgestone Potenza at Hockenheim, as in 2006, when the series last visited the track. Hockenheim is a fast and very tough circuit. In the second sector, Turn Five is a long corner putting stress on the right hand tires. The first and last corners are also hard on the tires with a greater wear rate on the left hand side. In addition, the two hairpins at Turns Six and Ten require good traction from the GP2/08 car. Due to all of these factors, tire durability and tire management during the race are very important at this circuit. On the final infield section, high grip is required at low speed."
Stats & Facts
Number & Spec of tires for Hockenheim: 760 (medium dry & wets)
Pole position time 2006: 1m 22.588s - G Bruni (Trident)
Fastest race lap 2006: 1m 23.774s - A Premat, ART (R1)
Top three 2006 race 1: G Bruni (Trident), L Hamilton (ART), T Glock (iSport)
Top three 2006 race 2: T Glock (iSport), J M Lopez (Super Nova), L Hamilton (ART)
Bridgestone GP2 Series: Q&A with Timo Glock
The Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series returns to the German circuit of Hockenheim for the sixth round of the 2008 GP2 Series. This circuit was last on the calendar in 2006 and drivers will find a challenging track at the location of the German Grand Prix, with an exciting mix of corners to test both them, and the set-up skills of their engineers. Reigning GP2 Series champion Timo Glock has a good history here as he finished on the podium both times in 2006, winning the Sprint race. Now a driver for the Panasonic Toyota Racing Team, Timo answered the following questions:
How important was winning the GP2 Series for your return to Formula One?
GP2 was essential for me to get back to Formula One. When I was in Champ Car I had the chance to stay there and probably have a good career but I knew the only way to return to Formula One was through GP2, because then I would be racing against the best young drivers right in front of the Formula One teams. It was very special to win the GP2 title but by the time of the last race in Valencia, winning the title wasn't crucial to joining Toyota - it was just a very nice bonus.
Do you think your experience of Bridgestone slick tires from the GP2 Series and Champ Car World Series will help you for Formula One with slick tires in the future?
It won't do me any harm, that's for sure. But in the end all the drivers in Formula 1 have had experience of slick tires earlier in their career, in F3 or whatever. The difference for me is that GP2 and Champ Cars are more powerful so you really push the tires more. Maybe I will have a slight advantage to start with but I am racing against the best drivers in the world so I am sure they will adapt quickly in winter testing. I am looking forward to racing in F1 on slicks; I think it is the right decision.
How different is driving a race car with slicks and one with grooved tires?
Slick tires offer more grip than the grooved tires because the contact patch is larger. Therefore you can set faster lap times on slick tires. The car balance on slicks is different and you have a much more precise front end.
What are your memories of the Hockenheimring and what is the key to a good race there?
Hockenheim is one of my favorite circuits because it is my local track and I have had a lot of good races and wins there. To have a good race there it is important to have strong top speed but there is also the last sector where there are slower corners, so you have to find a good balance. In the end I think it is a good mix of corners and I enjoy racing there.
What have been your impressions of the GP2 Series season so far in 2008?
It is a strong championship with lots of different winners. It will be tight at the end to see who wins so it should be really interesting to watch. Of course, I keep an eye on my former team, iSport, and also for my team-mate here at Toyota, Kamui Kobayashi, who is having a pretty good season at the moment. Bridgestone