Bridgestone goes hard and soft for Istanbul
Bridgestone’s soft compound appears for the first time at the harsh proving ground of the Istanbul Park Circuit where it will partner Bridgestone’s hard compound for the trials and undulations of the Turkish Grand Prix.
Round seven of the FIA Formula One World Championship takes place on the first anti-clockwise circuit of the season and Bridgestone’s tires will encounter almost every type of corner and force loadings over the 5.34 km of the Hermann Tilke designed course. Of particular note is Turn Eight. This long, multi-apex, left-hand turn places fierce loads on the tires, particularly the front right.
Only a small portion of the track is on level ground, the majority being either uphill or downhill to present drivers with a real roller-coaster drive. The final combination of corners before heading on to the start-finish straight will also give competitors plenty to think about. The left-right-left of turns 12-14 are the lowest speed areas of the track and come straight after the highest-speed straight.
This combination is a breeding ground for tire graining, so competitors will have to pay particular attention here to minimize this, especially early in the race weekend when the circuit is dirtier and has less rubber on it. Last year Felipe Massa (Ferrari) achieved his second win of the season in the Turkish Grand Prix, after starting from pole and using a medium-medium-hard tire strategy to win.
Hirohide Hamashima - Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tire Development....
What are the challenges of Turkey?
“Istanbul has a wide range of different corner types and is a very difficult circuit to master in terms of car set-up and maximizing tire potential. It has high speed sections and also heavy braking. Both of these factors mean that a lot of energy is being put through the tires, so watching wear and degradation will be a consideration. This circuit is not only a challenge for our tires, drivers face a tough race too as the circuit is not clockwise like most of the tracks on the calendar.”
How should the tires cope with the tricky Turn Eight?
“Turn Eight is a difficult corner and we have learnt a lot about this corner from the problems we have seen here in the past. This season we are using slick tires, and they are inherently stronger in the tread than a grooved tire. In addition, we developed the tires using the data gained here previously, so we are not predicting any issues, however we are always vigilant as this corner produces the highest G forces we see all season.”