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Germany preview - Vettel versus Rosberg on home soil 04 Jul 2013

(L to R): Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing and Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 in the Press Conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Preparations, Nurburgring, Germany, Thursday, 4 July 2013 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, German Grand Prix, Practice Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 22 July 2011 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Preparations, Nurburgring, Germany, Thursday, 4 July 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing talks with the media.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Preparations, Nurburgring, Germany, Thursday, 4 July 2013 Ferrari F138 in the garage.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Preparations, Nurburgring, Germany, Thursday, 4 July 2013 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Preparations, Nurburgring, Germany, Thursday, 4 July 2013 Pirelli tyres.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Preparations, Nurburgring, Germany, Thursday, 4 July 2013 Pirelli tyres.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Preparations, Nurburgring, Germany, Thursday, 4 July 2013 Pirelli tyres.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Preparations, Nurburgring, Germany, Thursday, 4 July 2013 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB7.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, German Grand Prix, Race, Nurburgring, Germany, Sunday, 24 July 2011 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 150 Italia.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, German Grand Prix, Race, Nurburgring, Germany, Sunday, 24 July 2011 (L to R): Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB7 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari 150 Italia battle for position.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, German Grand Prix, Race, Nurburgring, Germany, Sunday, 24 July 2011

With everyone having agreed on revised tyres after the dramas of Silverstone, this weekend’s Formula 1 Grosser Preis Santander von Deutschland 2013 looks set for a Vettel versus Rosberg fight on home ground.

Mercedes proved in Britain that they are able to take the fight to Red Bull, though the Nurburgring should be slightly hotter, so it will be interesting to see how that impacts on the Silver Arrows’ newfound tyre degradation-management skills.

Nico Rosberg is dead set on making it two in a row for Mercedes, and three from the last four races.

“We have made huge progress with our tyre management,” he says, “and I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be very quick again this weekend.”

Likewise, his team mate Lewis Hamilton will be looking to pull back the two-win deficit to Rosberg, especially as he feels Silverstone was his race.

“The team have done a fantastic job with the car and we were genuinely competitive at my home race,” he says. “I’d really like to open my winning account with Mercedes this weekend, and I think the way the car is now going I have a very good chance of that. I’ll be pushing hard all the way.”

After his Silverstone gearbox failure, Sebastian Vettel says: “It was disappointing not to finish in Britain, but the best thing after something like that it so focus on what’s coming. Racing at home is a huge buzz and we will be going all out to take another victory this weekend.”

Red Bull team mate Mark Webber is also aiming to do just that. “I’ve always had happy memories of the Nurburgring after taking my first Grand Prix win here in 2009,” the Australian says. “We came very close last week, so let’s hope we can take that final step here.”

Elsewhere, Ferrari need to get back in the hunt, and both the Scuderia and Lotus will be hoping for hotter weather to play to the strengths of their cars. At Force India, Adrian Sutil faces his home Grand Prix, while Paul di Resta will be desperately hoping that nothing goes wrong for him in qualifying this time.

At McLaren, everyone is focused on wiping away the memory of the last two races, and scoring points again.

“Of course, the Silverstone result wasn’t where we want to be, but there were some reasons to be encouraged by last weekend,” Jenson Button says. “Our car is now better balanced and more driveable, so we’re hoping for a rain-free practice day in order to further develop the set-up during Friday’s two free practice sessions.

“The Nurburgring is a track that seems to encourage close racing and plenty of overtaking. The combination of low- and medium-speed corners tends to allow cars to run quite closely, and there are a couple of big braking zones, where it’s quite easy to get alongside and steal the inside line. However, it’s got some nicely designed sections, which mean - equally - that you can lose out on the entry and yet still regain position if you have better traction and track position on the exit.”

What nobody doubts is that this year’s German Grand Prix is going to be all about tyres.

Pirelli have reacted quickly to the furore surrounding their failures at Silverstone last weekend, and have conducted an exhaustive analysis. Part of the problem was that some teams mounted the asymmetric rear tyres the wrong way round to seek a performance advantage, compromising their ability to withstand the pressures they are subjected to. Another problem was some teams running them at excessively low pressures and/or running extreme camber angles.

Motorsport director Paul Hembery explained that previously the only problems that had come to light were delaminations, and that the Silverstone failures were different.

“To stop the delaminations Pirelli found a solution by suggesting that the teams use the tyres that were tried out in Canada from Silverstone onwards,” he said. “When this proposal was not accepted, Pirelli found another solution through laboratory testing, with a different bonding process to attach the tread to the carcass. So the problem of delamination has nothing at all to do with what was seen in Great Britain.”

While waiting for new regulations that would permit Pirelli to access real-time data from the teams, which is vital for the development and management of the tyres, Pirelli have proposed several measures.

Firstly, the use of the evolution of the current tyre that was tested in Canada (and proved to be completely reliable) for the German race this weekend. This represents the best match for the technical characteristics of the Nurburgring circuit. In particular, the rear tyres that will be used have a Kevlar construction rather than the steel structure and the re-introduction of the 2012 belt, to ensure maximum stability. The compound nomination is the P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft: a combination not seen since the Chinese Grand Prix in April.

From Hungary onwards, Pirelli will introduce a new range of symmetrical-structure tyres which are designed to guarantee maximum safety even without access to real-time tyre data. These will combine the characteristics of the 2012 tyres with the performance of the 2013 compounds. The new tyres will have a structure, construction and belt identical to that of the 2012 tyres, allied to the 2013 compounds.

The ‘new’ Nurburgring has two key characteristics: it is relatively slow as it has a lot of medium-speed corners, and it demands some of the heaviest braking. Sixty percent of track is run at full throttle, placing heavy demands on the engine, and it also requires excellent aerodynamic efficiency. The surface is quite grippy, but promotes understeer so it’s a struggle to achieve the right aerodynamic balance between the sections where maximum speeds reach 300 km/h and the slow- and medium-speed parts which require high downforce. There are also a lot of heavy braking areas.

There’ll be two DRS zones: the first on the start/finish straight, with detection between Turns 14 and 15; the second, with detection just prior to Turn 10, beginning after Turn 11 and ending just before Turn 13/14, the NGK chicane. The latter is the best place to overtake, after carrying as much speed as possible through the challenging right-hander that precedes it.

The ninth round of the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship is expected to enjoy a reasonably warm weekend, with predicted ambient temperature highs of around 25 degrees Celsius, with a chance of showers on Friday.

The sole driver change expected for opening practice is Marussia tester Rodolfo Gonzalez getting another Friday outing, taking over Jules Bianchi's car for the 90-minute session.

Sunday’s race will run over 60 laps of the fundamentally unchanged 5.148-kilometre (3.198 mile) circuit, or 308.623 kilometres (191.778 miles). It starts at 1400 hours local time, which is two hours ahead of GMT.

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