Following extensive testing throughout last year, assisted by current champion Mirko Bortolotti, F2’s engineers have developed a performance upgrade package for the Williams designed car, which centers around a switch from Avon to YOKOHAMA tires and new carbon composite brakes.
The new compound tires have been purpose built for the series by the Japanese manufacturer who has been at the forefront of motorsport for many years and is currently the tire supplier for the FIA World Touring Car Championship. The new tires will offer improved stability and balance, yet without compromising on longevity, as well as aiding newcomers to better understand and easily fine-tune the car by offering more precise feedback. Drivers will also receive an additional set of new slick tires every weekend in 2012 giving them increased running on new rubber.
Alongside the YOKOHAMA tires, the upgraded F2 car will also feature new carbon composite brakes to reduce weight and improve performance. Recent tests conducted during post-season testing at Barcelona yielded impressive results with the new spec car running a full 2.363s quicker (1:34.712s) than the fastest time set by the previous F2 machine.
F2 Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer and Kazu Sekiguchi, Head of YOKOHAMA Motorsport, were on hand to announce the new partnership. Palmer commented: “We’re delighted to confirm our new partnership between Formula Two and YOKOHAMA. Given the impressive results achieved in testing so far we’re confident our new tires will deliver enhanced performance both in terms of pace and also consistency, which is crucial in maintaining the completely equal environment of F2. This forms a significant part of an upgrade package that will see the Williams JPH1B F2 car lap around two seconds faster than its 2011 equivalent. We’re now looking forward to working with YOKOHAMA on further developments ahead of the season opener at Silverstone in April."
David Seward, Managing Director of YOKOHAMA UK, who was also present, added: “F2 has quickly established a name as one of the most exciting championships around and we are very proud to have been chosen as the control tire for such a prestigious race series. This is a fantastic platform to demonstrate the quality, performance and technology that is synonymous with the YOKOHAMA brand and we look forward with great excitement to the season ahead."
F2 champion Bortolotti, who contributed with testing and development of the 2012-spec car, commented: “The car felt good and performed really well. The new tires perfectly suit the car and react well offering increased grip, even at Barcelona which is very hard on tires. These combined well with the new brakes which are 12 kilos lighter and allowed me to brake harder and later. Throughout the test we were consistently lapping quickly, in and around the 1:34s, and I think from a driver’s point of view all these features will improve the feeling of the F2 car and be a good thing for the 2012 season."