Bridgestone will bring the medium and soft tires for the Belgian Grand Prix on August 28-30 which takes place on the longest circuit of the year, the 7 km Spa Francorchamps circuit.
Located in the forests of the Ardennes region, the challenge of the Spa circuit is legendary. It features 19 corners and offers a real high speed challenge over its undulating course. This is the first time that the medium and soft tires have been used in a consecutive allocation for a race.
Hiroshi Yasukawa - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport, said: Belgium is the home of Bridgestone Europe so in many ways the Belgian Grand Prix is like a home race for us. Bridgestone Europe employs more than 13000 people throughout Europe, spread between eight tire plants, one technical centre/proving ground and different national sales organizations. In Belgium itself the Bridgestone Group employs 1100 persons as well as hosts the headquarters of Bridgestone Europe and subsidiary, Bandag Europe. Spa is a fantastic circuit to visit as it has so much history and we are looking forward to an exciting race there."
Q&A with Hirohide Hamashima - Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tire Development
What are the challenges of Spa?
"Spa is a classic race circuit. It is fast and also has some interesting technical challenges over the course of a lap, and a lap here is longer than anywhere else we visit during the course of a season. There are very long high speed sections, with fast corners. Despite being a fast circuit, the downforce levels used on the cars is quite high, meaning heavy loads are transferred through the tires. There is significant gradient change over a lap too. Eau Rouge is a very fast corner and the compression at the bottom of the corner means a lot of force through the tires. Here sufficient tire pressure is critical."
What are the primary tire performance considerations?
"In tire terms this is a severe circuit. High loads are put through the tires during a lap. It can be quite cold here, so getting initial heat into the tires could be a challenge, especially with the higher temperature working range medium compound. We must not, of course, forget the weather. We have seen wet races many times at Spa. Because it is a long course you can have one part dry, one part wet. Tire choice during the course of the race could well be the deciding factor."
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