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Suppliers ready special tyres for Belgium 07 Sep 2005

Jarno Trulli (ITA) Renault R24.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Belgian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, 28 August 2004

The demands of Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps circuit are so unique that both Bridgestone and Michelin will be bringing along specially-created tyres for this weekend’s Grand Prix.

"The Spa circuit is a case apart,” confirms Michelin’s motorsport director, Pierre Dupasquier. “Two particular corners demand well-defined chassis set-ups and perfect judgment - not to mention undiluted commitment - on the drivers' part: the Raidillon ascent and Blanchimont.

“They put significant loads through the left- and right-side tyres respectively - and both are taken at about 320 km/h (almost 200mph). These unusual loads oblige us to prepare tyres specifically for the task.”

But it is not just the corners that are unusual at Spa - it is also the weather, which can be notoriously changeable and it is not uncommon for some parts of the lap to be wet, while other parts of the circuit remain dry.

“The circuit seems to have its own micro-climate so while we have selected tyres from the medium to hard range because of the relatively rough track surface and high speed corners, the tyres have a wide working temperature range to cope with the possible weather fluctuations,” explains Bridgestone’s technical manager, Hisao Suganuma.

“We shall also of course be ready with our wet and extreme weather specifications. One thing we shall be looking out for in Spa, however, is tyre wear because of the rough track surface. We will have a new, previously un-raced specification of tyre in Spa which we anticipate will cope well with the conditions and give a competitive performance."

If the heavens do open during Sunday’s Grand Prix it will be the first wet race of 2005. "There's always the possibility of rain, which might throw up a few surprises, but we are ready to try out our latest-specification wet-weather tyres in racing conditions,” says Dupasquier.

Of course, it is not just the race that can be affected by the weather. Last year, a mix of wet and dry conditions turned qualifying into something of a lottery, with Jarno Trulli timing it to perfection to grab his second pole position of the season.