Bridgestone: you never know with the Nurburgring 19 Jul 2007
A different slot in the calendar, unusual weather conditions and a lack of testing at the track means the famous Nurburgring circuit could hold a few surprises for Formula One tyre suppliers Bridgestone at this weekends European Grand Prix.
The race is taking place later in the year than usual, running in late July, compared to its more normal May date. This should mean hotter temperatures (although the current weather in the region does not support that theory), but that hasnt stopped Bridgestone opting for tyre compounds from the softer end of their range - soft and medium.
The biggest challenge is our decision to bring the soft compound Bridgestone Potenza, as all our experience is based on this circuit in the spring, explained head of track engineering, Kees van de Grint.
We will have to see if our predictions are correct. The Eifel region can produce unpredictable weather, so it's a little bit of an unknown for us. I believe we've made the right choice, but you never know with the Nurburgring!"
Adding to the unknowns is the fact that the Formula One teams rarely run at the Nurburgring outside a race weekend. BMW Sauber were there earlier this year, but that was for a special one-off around the famous Nordschleife layout, rather than the contemporary Grand Prix circuit.
Any data collected from Nick Heidfeld's laps on the 20.8 km Nordschleife is not very useful for the forthcoming race, joked van de Grint. It would make me worry if Heidfeld took eight minutes to complete a lap for the Grand Prix!
"I can't remember the last time we tested at the Nurburgring, and this means that our only chance to confirm our tyre choice is at the race itself. It means that teams also have less data to work from.
The focus of Bridgestones European Grand Prix preparations will hence be their knowledge and experience of previous races at the track. We know this circuit pretty well - tyre grip, traction and braking performance are all of great importance, especially in sectors one and three, concluded van de Grint.