Nurburgring - the engineers view 27 May 2004
The technical lowdown on this weekend's race venue
After the highly unusual requirements of Monaco, the Formula One teams return to more familiar territory this weekend and Germanys Nurburgring circuit. It may not be the most technically demanding of tracks, but a well-balanced car is essential and there is always the fickle Eifel weather waiting to throw a spanner into the works.
Sam Michael, Technical Director, Williams:
For the European Grand Prix, we will have further aerodynamic and mechanical upgrades to run on the car in order to improve our competitiveness. Michelin will also be providing us with two new tyre developments.
The Nurburgring is a high downforce track with numerous slow and several medium speed corners but also a crucial high speed section. The circuit offers overtaking opportunities, the best one seems to be in the section from the last chicane until turn one, which has been seen in previous races. Following the special requirements that Monaco demands, race strategy will be back to normal for this event. It is likely we will see more pit stops than in previous races at the Nurburgring when the lower pit-lane speed limit was in force.
Willy Rampf, Technical Director, Sauber:
"Most of the corners at the new Nurburgring are relatively slow-speed, so the emphasis is on setting up the car so that it is well balanced, and running as much downforce as possible. The level we use is actually quite close to Monaco's. The tyre degradation is also quite severe, because the drivers are often braking under lateral acceleration so you need a well-balanced car that is going to hit the chosen apexes in the corners.
"The good thing is that overtaking is possible there because of the first two corners. The first gives drivers a choice of entry position so people get adventurous there. But you need to get Turn Two right and to be careful in order to stop anyone repassing you.
"We will have some more new aerodynamic parts on the cars for this race. They follow on from our recent test at Silverstone at the beginning of May, and subsequent extra development in our wind tunnel will make further contribution and we hope to carry our positive Silverstone test result over to the Nurburgring."
Dr Mark Gillan, Head of Vehicle Performance, Jaguar:
"This week we head off to the Nurburgring track in the forests of Germany. The Nurburgring is an undulating circuit that is dominated by slow corners that requires medium to high down-force from the R5. We were sixth here last year with Mark and if we could do the same this year we would be pleased. The R5 suits this track and our primary goal is to ensure that both of our cars finish the race. I know, having spoken to all three drivers this week, they all enjoy racing here and they have had some good successes between them in many different formulas. Although we have been unable to test this week we have been working very closely with Cosworth Racing, Pi Research and Michelin in preparation for the race this weekend. There will be a few modifications to the car this weekend and we then go straight on to Silverstone in the UK to test for four days. In the meantime, we will be looking to secure some championship points from a car that is more than capable of delivering them.
James Robinson, Head of Race and Test Engineering, Jordan:
"It's good to go to Nurburgring following on from our two-points success in Monaco which has set a positive mood in the team. The weather is always very unpredictable at Nurburgring and that will hopefully open up opportunities for us. We're eager to have a wet race in order to show what our cars, drivers and the Bridgestone wet weather tyres can do. Maybe this weekend will give us that chance. We have done extensive testing with Bridgestone and selected our tyres for this circuit and we are quite confident about our choices."