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Getting to grips with Canada's new surface 08 Jun 2005

A Bridgestone tyre is washed.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Nurburgring, Germany, 28 May 2005

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has been completely resurfaced ahead of this year’s Canadian Grand Prix, throwing another unknown factor into the mix for Bridgestone’s and Michelin’s tyre engineers.

While the tyre technicians do not expect the properties of the surface to have altered dramatically, they will be monitoring it closely throughout the weekend to check for any unexpected changes.

"Our engineers have taken a look at the track and their research indicates that the asphalt won't be particularly abrasive,” said Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director. “That said, it is completely new and has yet to be tested by any racing cars.

“It is likely that track conditions will evolve significantly throughout the weekend, largely due to the chemical reactions that are an unpredictable by-product of any freshly-laid surface."

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve features long, fast straights, but relatively few corners, most of them slow. These characteristics place some slightly unusual demands on a Formula One car’s rubber.

"The tyres are running at high speeds and for relatively long periods of time which can result in high tyre temperatures,” explained Hisao Suganuma, Bridgestone’s Technical Manager. “This is then followed by hard braking areas which also generates a lot of heat in the tyres.

“On the other hand, because the corners are not so high speed, tyre wear is quite small and that, combined with the relatively smooth track surface, means we can take tyres with compounds from the softer end of the scale.”

"The absence of quick corners and the frequent need for hard acceleration places a great deal of emphasis on rear-tyre performance,” added Dupasquier. “And the possibility of hot ambient temperatures increases the potential strain.

“You have to take care not to let the rear wheels spin too much, because that accelerates wear rates. To counter this phenomenon, we will offer our partner teams tyres with fairly stiff sidewall constructions.”

Michelin head to Canada having won every round of the 2005 season to date. However, Bridgestone have a strong record in Montreal, with four wins in the last five years, all of them for Michael Schumacher.