JULY 22, 2010
Tyres to play key role at Hockenheim?
With a significant gap between the two Bridgestone control rubber compounds on offer at Hockenheim, this weekend's German Grand Prix could turn into the kind of tactical encounter that the Canadian Grand Prix proved to be.
Bridgestone has four basic tyre compounds - super soft, soft, medium and hard - and if the two compounds supplied are two removed, for example soft and hard, and one of the compounds is not the super soft, then very often either tyre proves to be durable and raceable once the circuit has rubbered in, hence a one-stop race ensues.
In Canada (where the compounds were the super soft and medium), however, the track surface conspired to make the supersofts last a very short time (around five laps at the start of the race), meaning more than one stop, especially when those who elected to start on the hard tyre also found they did not last as long as expected.
In Germany, for the first time this season, Bridgestone's selected compounds (super soft and hard) are from the opposite ends of the spectrum. Also the characteristics of Hockenheim -- a fairly fine grain surface and quite a lot of second gear (even first at the hairpin) acceleration and hence 'traction' events -- mean that tyre degradation could be high.
High track temperatures would exacerbate any wear issues although the current forecast suggests that the surface temperature probably won't be as hot as it can be in Germany at this time of year.
McLaren's Jenson Button said: "I'm told that the super soft is very soft and the hard is very hard, so qualifying will be interesting, especially if you can't make the super soft last more than a handful of laps, and we may well see different strategies and people planning a two-stop race, as in Canada."