German Grand Prix Formula One preview
Today’s report from Formula One teams & drivers at Nürburgring.
Red Bull Racing
Tell us about the Nürburgring circuit
It’s one of the longer tracks, and one I know very well from when I was racing in the junior series in Formula BMW and Formula 3. I’ve always had a lot of fun on this track. In 2009, I made it to the podium for the first time in Formula One, when we got a one-two, and it was a fantastic experience thanks to the German fans.
Which part of the circuit do you like best?
Driving out of the Mercedes-Arena and into the Müllenbach loop is good, then down towards the Dunlop hairpin, you have to put it in third or fourth gear there. Then onto the Schumacher-S into the Warsteiner bend and back down towards the ADVAN arch.
Where’s the best place for a fan to watch from at the track?
If you are looking for action, you should go for sections where overtaking is possible, so at the first corner. The fast corners are exciting as well: the Müllenbach loop, the Michael- Schumacher-S, and the section following the ADVAN arch, shortly before the chicane.
What’s your best memory from the Nürburgring ?
My first Formula One win there in 2009. That’s got to be my best memory from that circuit by far and one of the best of my whole career. It was such a special day and to win it in the style that we did that day was incredible.
What are your thoughts on the circuit?
I prefer the Nürburgring to Hockenheim; it’s got a bit of character about it, with some old school camber changes and old kerbs. The best part is Turns 5 and 6, the fast left which goes into the tight right.
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
2013 German Grand Prix preview
Nurburgring facts & stats
The Nurburgring is one of the most iconic circuits in motorsport. Situated deep in the Eifel mountains, the modern grand prix track lies adjacent to the original 14-mile Nordschleife that was a regular fixture on the Formula 1 calendar between 1951 and ’76. The circuit – nicknamed the ‘green hell’ by drivers – was eventually deemed too dangerous for F1 and today’s ’Ring was built in time for the European Grand Prix of 1984.
Since 2008, the German Grand Prix has been shared between the Nurburgring and Hockenheim, 100 miles to the south. Each circuit hosts the race in alternate years, the Nurburgring last hosting the event in 2011, when Lewis Hamilton dominated proceedings to give McLaren its eighth German GP win.
The Nurburgring’s modern layout has remained largely unchanged since ’84. The first sector was tweaked in ’02 to promote overtaking into Turn 1, but the track has retained its technical challenge and is quick to highlight any weaknesses in car or driver. The predominance of slow and medium-speed corners encourages the cars to run with maximum downforce and the smooth track surface allows Pirelli to use its Medium and Soft rubber compounds in an effort to maximise mechanical grip.
As is the norm this season, there are two DRS zones at the Nurburgring. One is on the start-finish straight and the other on the approach to the chicane, Turn 13. On both occasions the cars are expected to exceed 300km/h, which should provide good slipstreaming opportunities during the race.
- Race distance 60 laps (308.623km/191.778 miles)
- Start time 14:00 (local)/12:00 (GMT)
- Circuit length 5.148km/3.199 miles
- 2011 winner Lewis Hamilton (McLaren MP4-26) 60 laps in 1hr37m30.334s (189.911km/h)
- 2011 pole Mark Webber (Red Bull RB7) 1m30.079s (205.739km/h)
- Lap record Michael Schumacher (Ferrari F2004) 1m29.468s (207.144km/h)
McLaren at the German Grand Prix
- Wins 8 (1976, 1984, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1998, 2008, 2011)
- Poles 12 (1976, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2008)
- Fastest laps 7 (1984, 1985, 1989, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2005)
Car 5: Jenson Button
- Age 33 (January 19 1980)
- GPs 236
- Wins 15
- Poles 8
- FLs 8
“Of course, the Silverstone result wasn’t where we want to be, but there were some reasons to be encouraged by last weekend. 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 tend 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.”
Car 6: Sergio Perez
- Age 23 (January 26 1990)
- GPs 45
- Wins 0
- Poles 0
- FLs 2
“I’ve already put the disappointment of Silverstone behind me. In fact, I was more encouraged by the positives: I demonstrated strong pace all weekend, was having a good race and looked set to finish in the points, until my tyre failure in the closing laps.
“Naturally, these setbacks happen in motor racing, so it’ll be good to get back in the car just a few days after Silverstone and get back to business.
“I started my single-seater career in Germany, so it’s a place with lots of positive memories for me. I enjoy racing at the Nurburgring, it’s a place where you need to attack to get the best from the lap, so I think it’s well suited to my style. Of course, I’d have loved to have raced on the old track, the Nordschleife, that must have been an incredible place for a grand prix, but I’ll be happy with a positive result on the new circuit.”
Martin Whitmarsh Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“After a difficult weekend at Silverstone, it’s a motivation for the whole team to return to the track just a week later for the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring. It’s a very difficult technical challenge to the flat-out sweeps of Silverstone, requiring a higher downforce set-up to get the most from the twisting infield sections and high-traction corner exits from which much of the laptime is derived.
“Our aim for Germany will be to get our cars into the points after two successive failures to finish inside the top 10. Despite those disappointments, both Jenson and Checo have driven faultlessly, and both are relentlessly positive and upbeat. They have been a strong unifying force for the team as we continue to address the issues we’ve encountered with this year’s MP4-28.
“With more, uninterrupted mileage, we will be better placed to add performance to the car, so we’ll be hoping for good weather and the opportunity to learn as much as we can.”
A McLaren 50 moment
Santander German Grand Prix, 24 July 2011
Lewis Hamilton is in stunning form all weekend. He qualifies on the front row of the grid, just 0.055s behind pole-sitter Mark Webber, and drives a determined race to come home 3.9s ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
The MP4-26 arrives at the Nurburgring – race 10 of the season – with a host of aerodynamic upgrades and they prove effective from the outset. Lewis is immediately on the pace during practice and he drives arguably his best qualifying lap of the whole season to start on the front row, setting a time 1.5s faster than team-mate Jenson Button.
Lewis then makes a great start to beat Webber into Turn One, but he’s unable to pull a gap to Webber and Alonso during the early stages of the race. Little more than a couple of seconds separates the top three and they all complete laps in the lead during the pitstop sequence. But whenever Lewis finds himself on the back foot, he muscles his way back to the front with some audacious overtaking manoeuvres.
It’s a sublime performance by Lewis, for whom this is win number 16 of his career. Perhaps it’s best summed up by third-placed Webber after the race: “Lewis was unbeatable today.”
Lotus F1 Team
Kimi Räikkönen: “The podium will be the only place to see my hair”
He’s never won in Germany, whether in the European or German Grand Prix; the latter of which has seen Kimi Räikkönen retire six times. After a top three placing with Lotus F1 Team last season, can this finally be the year for Kimi at the Nürburgring?
What is it about Germany that hasn’t been kind to you in the past?
I don’t know, maybe I did something bad in a former life? I have always enjoyed driving in Germany, but the problem is that luck has never been on my side there and something has always happened to stop me winning. I’ve got four poles to show my speed on German soil, but six retirements at this race haven’t been what I wanted.
Does it set you more of a challenge to have raced in Formula 1 in Germany 16 times, but never won?
Not really. A race is just a race and you always try to do your best. Obviously in the past both circuits – the Nürburgring and Hockenheim – have not been very kind to me, but I like them both and I have always been very competitive; in terms of pace if not maybe results. I’ve gone very well at the Nürburgring before, just never won. A couple of times I’ve had to stop while leading the race which always sends you home with a bad feeling. Hopefully I can finally get everything right this time. Last year we made the top three in Hockenheim, so let’s wait and see how it goes at the Nürburgring for the first time with this team.
Things looked so promising in Silverstone until right at the end; give us your view
It was a disappointing end to the weekend for sure. Things were going pretty well in the race, but it was a mistake not to switch to new tyres when the safety car came out. I tried to hold on, but with tyres that were maybe twenty laps older than the others it was impossible to keep them behind at the end. It’s a shame as we had good pace and looked set for a pretty easy P2, but this is racing sometimes.
On the plus side you finally broke Michael Schumacher’s record for points finishes…
It makes no difference to the Championship, so I’m really not interested in that.
You had a pretty intense moment behind Jean-Eric Vergne; were you nervous at all?
It wasn’t ideal having bits of rubber thrown at your helmet for sure, but risk is all part of the game. It wasn’t his or the tyres’ fault; if you have sharp edges on a kerb as seemed to be the case there last weekend then these things can happen no matter what tyres you have. It didn’t change our race anyway.
It’s not been an easy run of late; does that affect your mindset?
No. It’s three races now where we haven’t had the result we maybe expect, but hopefully if we can have a bit more luck and also get rid of some of the mistakes we’ll be able to get back to the front.
What’s the Nürburgring like to race?
It’s pretty good, but probably not as much fun as the old one. It should suit us, but the fact is you need a really good car to be competitive there. Most of all you need good traction out of the corners and a stable car under braking. We’re pretty reasonable in both these areas. We have had our issues with cooler weather and unfortunately it’s not usually that warm at the Nürburgring, but we’ll just see what we get and get on with it.
What’s the target for this weekend?
We never promise anything beforehand. A podium would be a positive result and a step in the right direction. We missed that at Silverstone, and it would be good to get back to the top positions. The season is still long and the leaders of the championship are ahead of us. Realistically, all I can do is to do my very best in each race.
Will you tell us the story about your hair?
No. But if I get on the podium in Germany you will see it.
Romain Grosjean: “The Nürburgring certainly keeps you busy!”
After a frustrating British Grand Prix, Romain Grosjean has his sights set on the Nürburgring; the scene of two podium finishes – including a win – when he last visited the track
How do you like the Nürburgring?
It’s quite a nice track with a quite a lot to it. There’s a really interesting mix of corners which means you have plenty to think about over the course of a lap; you’re certainly kept busy! The first section relies on mechanical grip and Turn 1 can be interesting at the start of the race if people go too deep into the corner. It can also be a good overtaking opportunity during the race too. After that there are some higher speed corners down to the hairpin – which is another good place you can overtake – then nice high speed stuff for the rest of the lap. You need a well-balanced car so I think we should go pretty well.
What’s your past form at the circuit?
This will be my first time racing there in Formula 1, but I’ve raced at the track previously in F3 and the GP2 Series. Last time I raced there – 2011 in the GP2 Series – I scored a podium and a win so my most recent memories of the circuit are certainly good.
Would you like to have raced on the old Nürburgring?
It’s quite some circuit and it must have been amazing to have raced there. I can’t imagine what it would be like if we raced the current Formula 1 cars there. For starters can you imagine how long the set-up meetings would be with all those corners to talk about?! The Thursday morning track walk would be pretty epic too!
How was your British Grand Prix?
It wasn’t the best of races; quite a frustrating one in fact. We had a problem with the front wing which got worse over the course of the race, and ultimately we lost a big part of it. There was a lot of vibration and it became really difficult to drive, so in the end it was best to retire because of safety considerations. Before that, things weren’t going quite to plan and we were suffering with tyre performance issues related to the front wing. The safety cars didn’t really go our way either so it’s a race I’d rather forget.
Was it good to out-qualify Kimi for the first time this season?
Of course, you always want to be faster than your team-mate so it was good to be in front of him on the grid. We both had different upgrade packages on our cars, so it was good to see we were able to get similar speeds out of them. Of course, we want some more speed too, but there are still more parts to come and we’re still learning about the latest upgrades so there’s potential yet.
What do you think can be achieved from the next few races?
We’ve got new parts on the car and we certainly have the pace for some strong results. The last few races have been frustrating for various reasons, so if we can get a few solid weekends we should be able to get some decent results and score good points.
What are your thoughts on the current tyre situation?
Well it looks like I could be busy at the Young Driver Test in a few weeks’ time if race drivers are allowed to take part. Certainly, Silverstone was a very unusual situation and I know that myself and Kimi were being asked to stay off the kerbs as it was thought that using them on certain corners wasn’t helping the situation. No-one wants tyre failures and I know all the teams and the sport are working with Pirelli to put this right. I’m sure there will be a satisfactory solution soon.
Eric Boullier: “We’re completely behind any tyre changes for safety”
A fifth place finish saw Kimi notch up a few more points at Silverstone, but the potential for more was – and is – there. Germany should offer an opportunity to make amends, reckons Team Principal Eric Boullier
Not the best of weekend in Silverstone for the team?
The outcome of the race wasn’t rewarding with the amount of work that has been done by the team recently. Most of the upgrades we brought seemed to be working which is a positive sign, although we did struggle a bit in qualifying to generate good grip from the tyres. Our strategy was great until the last safety car. We should have called Kimi in to save at least one position and make the podium. Unfortunately, we made the wrong call for which we apologised to Kimi and to the team. This sometimes happens and it isn’t easy to manage when you have so many safety car periods. In Germany we’re confident we will be competitive and aiming to make amends. For Romain, it was a frustrating race after a strong Saturday performance where he’d outqualifed Kimi. It’s very unusual for us to have a part fail, so we’re looking very closely at his front wing to ascertain what went wrong.
How was the post-race debrief at Silverstone?
We’re all grown-ups and we’re all pretty frank with each other. It was pretty obvious with hindsight that we made the wrong call. No team can say that they make the correct call on every occasion; whether in race strategy, car design philosophy or any other aspect of the sport. Kimi was pretty frustrated when he got out of the car which is understandable – we wouldn’t want a driver who wasn’t frustrated after what happened – but there’s no point sitting in the corner sulking; we’re focused on getting a good result in Germany.
It wasn’t the best advertisement of the team’s calibre to keep Kimi for the future…
Kimi’s an intelligent guy and he won’t let a single pit stop call define a decision like where to drive for 2014. One of his psychological strengths is that he clearly lets you know when he’s upset about something, then he refocuses and gets on with the next challenge very quickly. He seems to like being with Lotus F1 Team and we’re doing everything we can to show him this is the place to be for next season and beyond.
What are the positives for Germany?
There’s nothing about the Nürburgring to cause us any concern so we should be in the hunt again in Germany. We brought plenty of upgrades to Silverstone and we have a lot of data from the weekend so there should be some more pace to extract there. Another positive for the team to take from Silverstone was that all our race pit stops were completed in 2.5 seconds or under. It’s great to see the hard work in this area making improvements, so a big thanks to the pit stop crew – who practice their stops so many times both at the track and at the factory – as well as the design and manufacturing departments for all the equipment and relevant car parts too.
How is on-going development of the E21?
We’ve raced with the Device now and we are happy with it. It should make appearances again this season. We have also developed a new aerodynamic package which also brings benefits. Now we’ve used both on track and are happy with the results, the next step is to combine the two. We also have plenty of other developments continuing with this season’s car and we’ll keep pushing till the end of the season.
Can we mention tyres?
They’re quite a topic of discussion these days aren’t they? Obviously, we saw more tyre failures than we’re used to seeing at Silverstone and Pirelli are analysing all the data available. It’s something that’s very much in the media, but the important thing is that the sport has tyres which are firstly safe and secondly fair for all competitors. The tyre failures in Silverstone were a concern and we’re doing everything we can to assist Pirelli. Once they have completed their analysis, then decisions can be made based on the available information. We’re completely behind any changes which could be required on the grounds of safety and always have been. We’ve never pushed to race on tyres which Pirelli have told us could have the potential to be unsafe.
Alan Permane: “We could unlock quite a bit of speed this weekend”
After a British Grand Prix which saw a fair amount of controversy – both for the team and the sport – Trackside Operations Director Alan Permane sets the record straight
What’s your analysis of the British Grand Prix?
Ultimately we finished P5 from a P8 grid slot with Kimi, so it wasn’t the end of the world. However, we’d been looking much stronger and our race was actually going very well right up until the last safety car period, which left us with a dilemma; bring Kimi in for fresh tyres or run to the end. With hindsight, it’s obvious we made the wrong choice.
What were the circumstances leading to the strategy call?
Having stopped moments beforehand, Fernando [Alonso] was extremely fortunate with the timing of the safety car. Mark [Webber] was on options that were fading fast, so the timing of Sebastian [Vettel] parking his Red Bull in a place where a safety car was needed was most fortuitous for Mark. Nico [Rosberg’s] lead was such that he had a free stop. Of the cars, like us, who were on hard tyres and planning to go to the end, Daniel [Ricciardo] and Adrian [Sutil] stayed out just like us. Based on the information we had at the time and what we believed the pace difference to the medium tyre would be, the call was made to stay out because we believed that our tyres were in good enough shape to run to the end in that position. Had we pitted for options and seen Kimi stuck behind Daniel and Adrian for the remainder of the race we would have been equally criticised, so it was a risk either way.
Moving on, tell us about the Nürburgring…
It’s a good track and one that the drivers really seem to enjoy as it has a real mix of everything. The opening sector is really quite technical, with good traction and a strong front end needed for some of the longer radius low speed turns. Then of course there’s a couple of swooping, medium speed downhill turns towards the hairpin, followed by the high speed kink which – despite the gradient – is taken flat out in 6th or even 7th
gear at around 280kph and really pushes the drivers. Next, you have a couple of medium / high speed corners leading onto the long back straight, followed by a tight chicane and the last corner, where a good front end is again required to counter the understeer inducing nature of the turn. In terms of chassis setup there’s a little bit of everything required; good change of direction for the medium speed corners, decent traction and front end for the tricky first sector and good top end speed for the long straights.
Are there any further upgrades for the E21 this weekend?
Having only just been to Silverstone there won’t be anything major, as the crew will be driving straight down to Germany to rebuild the cars without stopping at the factory. That said, we still have a new wing which we haven’t used yet and we still have to try various permutations of the latest upgrades on both cars. If it’s good weather and everything goes to plan, we could unlock quite a bit of speed this weekend.
What about the Device?
At Silverstone, Kimi ran with the Device and Romain rain with the new slimline bodywork package. The gains from both were roughly on a par with each other, so once we’ve confirmed everything on the data, combining the two – which have been developed on parallel but separate development paths – could well be the way forward. That won’t be for Germany, where we’ve yet to determine which package we will use. Watch closely when the garage doors open for first practice.
Tyres are a talking point yet again…
We’re supporting Pirelli, as we have all year, with any information and data they require. Obviously, no-one wants a repeat of the situation we saw in Silverstone and Pirelli are trawling through the data and analysing the tyres to establish what went on. From our perspective, we would never block any changes required on safety grounds. Pirelli have always stated that their tyres are safe. If it’s the case that they believe the best way forward – in the interests of safety – is to change the tyres to, say, a Canada development specification – or even last year’s specification – then we’ll be behind it. As regards a change for any reason other than safety, we have been performing well on the original specification tyres this season and are reluctant to lose that advantage based on the preference of our rivals. That’s only natural in a competitive sport; but safety is an entirely different matter.
Lords of the Ring – An Engineer’s Guide to the Nürburgring Circuit
Turns 1 – 4:
There’s a quite technical low speed complex through T1-T4, with mechanical grip and suspension settings holding greater importance here than at other sections of the circuit where downforce and the aero package have greater influence.
Turns 5 – 6:
Good high speed turn in and balance are required here. T5 is approached at around 270kph and taken at just over 200kph, before braking to around 130kph for T6.
Strong braking with good modulation is required into the hairpin, which provides a good overtaking opportunity. Approached at 280kph, the drivers drop all the way to 100kph through here.
Turns 8 – 9:
A high speed section of the circuit taken at over 250kph.
Turns 10 – 11:
Good mid-range pickup is required from the engine exiting T10 & T11; both of which are taken between 160 – 170kph.
The drivers will be flat out through here at around 280kph.
Turns 13 – 14:
The chicane is the only corner around the circuit where the kerbs are used. The left is taken at under 100kph, the right slightly faster.
This corner is vital to achieve good speed down the main straight. The drivers need to shed 100kph coming into the corner and ensure a clean exit on to the power.
You need a car which carries a reasonable amount of front wing at this circuit to balance the car for the longish medium speed corners.
The downforce level used here is very similar to that of Silverstone, which is on the high side relative to the other circuits seen during the season.
We need to concentrate on a set-up for high speed change of direction here, so it’s somewhere you’d have the car set up a little stiffer than the general baseline. There is not much use of the kerbs so you don’t need to factor this into the equation.
You need good brakes which can be modulated well to attack the chicane before the last corner, which is a good overtaking opportunity.
There are no engine requirements which are specific to the Nürburgring, so we are looking for good mid-range torque to aid the drivers on exit of the medium speed corners, plus good all-round driveability.
It’s the medium and soft tyres, which are suitable compound choices as we can see lower temperatures at the Nürburgring and there aren’t the energy demands of a track like Silverstone. The soft is quite a racy tyre, so I would expect to see around a second per lap difference in qualifying pace with a 2-3 stop race.
Looks Who’s Talking: Social Media in Action
Spotlight On… Twitter
Take one barking mad social media platform, add a healthy dose of brilliantly quirky motorsport aficionados and what have you got? We call it @Lotus_F1Team…
From live session updates to team event coverage, paddock atmosphere insights, competitions, quizzes and of course plenty of motoring banter, Twitter has become a focal platform in the team’s social media portfolio.
The past week has seen classic examples of some highly entertaining engagement initiatives, with two photo competitions bringing out the creative side in our ever-enthusiastic fan base. The first of these invited followers to share what was happening in their world when the 250,000 follower mark was breached with the aptly named #My250k contest; a celebration of the fans and their contribution to the cause giving a fantastic snapshot of the profile’s global reach.
The second competition by contrast could only be described as… well, ridiculous, but in the most entertaining way possible. When a certain Finn driver arrived at Silverstone on Thursday sporting an intriguing [although largely hidden] new look, we couldn’t help but have a little fun. Thus #KimiStyle was born, with fans invited to send us their customised Kimi cuts.
Look around this page for a selection of our favourite images from the competitions, or click here http://bit.ly/Pg0UVY to get involved with the fun.
Average Interactions per GP Weekend
Average Reach per GP Weekend
Inside Line: The Latest News from Enstone
Meet The Boss
Every year, tens of thousands of racing enthusiasts descend on the Northamptonshire countryside for the British Grand Prix, with many of those opting to join in the carnival atmosphere by camping out around the circuit.
On Thursday night, this dedicated crowd – who had braved some pretty miserable weather – were treated to a surprise appearance from Team Principal Eric Boullier, who took time out to visit the Woodlands Campsite.
The event – organised by the Silverstone Circuit – proved to be a big hit, as Eric took part in a Q&A session hosted by Formula 1 pundit Tony Jardine followed by a meet and greet with the fans; shaking hands, signing autographs having pictures taken and voicing his appreciation for their support.
Young at Heart
During the build-up to the British Grand Prix, drivers Romain Grosjean and Davide Valsecchi were on hand at the Lotus Originals store on London’s Regent Street to help launch a brand new range of official Lotus F1 Team merchandise aimed at the next generation of Formula 1 fans.
From ‘Trunki’ suitcases to ‘Scalextric’ slot car racing sets, crowds flocked through the doors to check out the new products and of course get up close and personal with two of the fastest men on the planet.
In addition to signing autographs, posing for photographs and chatting with the fans, Romain and Davide challenged guests to a race on the brand new Lotus F1 Team branded Scalextric set; taking on anyone and everyone who fancied their chances!
To find out more about the new range of Lotus F1 Team merchandise, click here: http://bit.ly/12iynkf
At Your Service: Media Department Contacts
Group Brand Director
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
Sauber F1 Team
- Preview – 2013 Santander German Grand Prix
- 9th Round of the FIA Formula One World Championship, 5th to 7th July 2013
After an eventful race in Silverstone, the Sauber F1 Team makes its way east to the Nürburgring for the German Grand Prix, which takes place from 5th to 7th July. It will be a Formula One debut for both Sauber F1 Team drivers. Despite driving in his third season, Nico Hülkenberg is looking forward to finally driving a Formula One car around the track adjacent to the Nordschleife in front of a home crowd. Esteban Gutiérrez has fond memories of the track in the German Eifel and is looking forward to a good weekend.
Nico Hülkenberg (car number 11):
“I know the Nürburgring very well. Since 2005 I have driven numerous races in several categories there, and, as far as I can remember, I won a race in every category there. I like the Eifel, and the Nürburgring is another traditional track with a lot of changes in altitude and good combinations, which makes it a lot of fun to drive. Of course, the fans will play a big part and I am looking forward to taking to the track in front of a home crowd. Although this is my third season, I have never raced at the Nürburgring in a Formula One car, so this is a first for me. Overall, however, I know what to expect. I guess, everything will be a bit faster and I might perceive things a little different, but I know the track well and I am looking forward to a nice weekend.“
Esteban Gutiérrez (car number 12):
“I used the days between the races in Silverstone and the Nürburgring to relax and do some good fitness training in order to recharge before the German GP. With back-to-back races there is less time to analyse the previous weekend and the focus changes pretty quickly, so you take the momentum and move on. On the other hand, back-to-back races are really nice, because you only have a couple of days until you are back in the car again. I have great memories of the Nürburgring. In 2009, I raced there for the first time in Formula 3, and had a podium with my former team mates Jules Bianchi and Valtteri Bottas. It’s a traditional Track with a as the GP circuit is part of the famous Nordschleife and I enjoy it a lot. It’s interesting to drive there with the fast corners, and the weather can be a challenge too. It’s exciting to come to Germany and feel the racing atmosphere. There is not that much to do around the area, so it’s all about pure racing.“
Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering:
“The Nürburgring is one of the most technically challenging circuits for the drivers and engineers. There is a good mix of low, medium and high-speed corners with the added challenge of several sections requiring many set-up and driver compromises. There are also some off camber corners, which always make it harder to get the ideal set-up. Pirelli has selected the medium and soft compounds for our return to the Nürburgring. Located within the Eifel mountain range there is often a chance of poor weather which can often add another element to the mix. We take encouragement from our race pace in Silverstone, but it is clear we still have some work to do in order to qualify stronger. As we did in Silverstone our aim will be to add to our points tally.”
Sahara Force India F1 Team
When: Friday 5th – Sunday 7th July, 2013
Where: Nürburg, Germany
Round: 9 of 19
Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: Nürburgring is quite a technical track with lots of challenging corner sequences and camber changes. There can also be variable weather which adds another element into the mix, although we don’t see many safety cars, with only two being deployed in the last ten races. It is a slower speed circuit with a below average top speed and the average corner speed is similar to what we see in Barcelona. The circuit is about 600 metres above sea level so engine power is low and downforce is reduced. We’ll reach our 600th race as a team at the German Grand Prix and we will be looking to mark this milestone with a strong finish this weekend.
Pastor Maldonado: Although the Nürburgring layout has changed recently and lost some of its old character, it’s still a pretty fast and flowing track which I tend to like and offers some good overtaking opportunities. It’s one of the most technical circuits on the calendar and we have been working hard to improve our cars balance in slow, technical corners. Tyre degradation is likely to be high as well, but in the last couple of races we have shown that we can control this quite well so that should give us a boost. The weather is often cold and can change throughout the weekend which is a challenge for all teams, but variable conditions would suit us. I just missed out on a points finish at Silverstone and will be looking to go a step better in this race.
Valtteri Bottas: The Nürburgring is a very challenging track as it has a broad mixture of corners which makes car set-up difficult. I really like the hi-speed sections in particular, especially the fast left and right corners leading to the back straight. The weather is often changeable so we will be preparing for the possibility of a wet weekend. I’ve always enjoyed driving in tricky conditions though and our car is currently performing better in the wet/damp conditions so I will be hoping that we do see some showers. With tyre management being so important, and teams not having raced here last season, we will be trying to get as much data from the practice sessions as possible to make sure that we are racing on Sunday with the optimum strategy. The team will be continuing our 600th race celebrations in Germany and we will be looking to score some points to give the people back at the factory an extra boost.
Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 Head of Track Operations: The Nürburgring is a medium speed track with an average of around 190kph. The four long straights are balanced out by a mix of low speed corners, such as turns 1 and 7 where the cars will run between 75 and 95kph. As a result the engine has to be driveable through the lower revs but also offer responsiveness and top end power. In particular Renault Sport F1 will work carefully on the selection of the top gear ratios since seventh gear will be engaged four times a lap, a higher than average usage. The high altitude of the track means the atmospheric pressure is lower so the demands on the engine are less severe, so we will tend to use an engine on the third race of its life.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: We’re bringing the P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tyres to the Nurburgring, which is a circuit that we’re racing on for the first time since 2011 of course. This is actually the same nomination as we had in 2011, but of course the compounds are now a lot softer and faster, so in theory we should see a quicker race with slightly more pit stops. Germany is the third of a series of races, following Canada and Great Britain, where the weather is traditionally uncertain. So ambient temperature will have a noticeable effect on wear and degradation. However, the Nurburgring is generally a smooth and flowing track where tyre life tends to be quite extensive. We are not expecting a massive performance gap between the two compounds either. From past information, this also seems to be a race where it’s going to be reasonably likely to see the Cinturato Green intermediate and Cinturato Blue full wet in action at some point over the weekend. If this is the case, it will obviously have a profound effect on race strategy.
Scuderia Toro Rosso
2013 German Grand PrixView
Race Laps: 60
Pitlane altitude (m): 578
2011 air / track temp (C): 13 / 20
2011 ATM pressure (HPA): 942
2011 humidity (%): 65
2011 wind (kph): W24
P1: WEB (1:30.079 Q3)
P2: HAM (1:30.134 Q3)
P3: VET (1:30.216 Q3)
P1: HAM (1:34.302 L59)
P2: ALO (1:34.626 L60)
P3: WEB (1:34.468 L60)
Primarily low to medium speed corners with no real high speed corners (except T5)
Grip levels improve considerably during the race weekend
Equivalent to Barcelona in terms of brake energy per lap time
Quite bumpy in heavy braking zone into T1 and T13
The weather can change very quickly
First gear not used on track
Overtaking chance: low
Ride height setting particularity: none
Engine severity: medium
Gearbox severity: high
Lat/Long grip: longitudinal
Aero eff ratio: medium
Safety car history: 2011 – none
Track grip evo during w/e: high
Aero settings: high
Brake wear severity: medium
Brake cooling necessity: medium
Charles Pic, car #20, CT03-#06: “After quali in Silverstone Giedo, Cyril, Heikki and I went back to Leafield for a great staff and family event at the factory. They’d had a barbecue and then we took part in a q&a session with everyone who’d gone and one of the questions I was asked was what’s my favourite track to race on. The answer is Nurburgring and I explained that I don’t really know why it’s my favourite, it’s just the feeling I have racing there – it’s very special! I won there in Formula Renault 3.5 and I was on the podium in GP2 so it has a lot of happy memories for me and there’s just something about getting a lap right there that feels very good.
“In terms of the atmosphere it’s a bit like Silverstone. It’s always very busy, the stands are full and when you come into the stadium section it’s a bit like racing into a football arena. The fans can see a lot of the track so they have a great view and they really know about motorsport. I’ve not raced in F1 there yet – last year we were at Hockenheim, but I’m sure it’ll be a great weekend.
“I think the track should also suit us quite well. We made some progress in Silverstone, in quali when I put together the best qualifying lap of my season so far and in the race where we had better pace than we’d had for a couple of races, and we added a few new parts to the car, mainly around the floor. We’ll have a couple more small updates for Germany and it’ll be good to continue the positive trend we’ve regained since last week in the UK. We have a bit of a gap after Germany before Hungary so it’ll be good to leave the Nurburgring after a positive race, having got ourselves back to the performance levels we’ve targeted for this season.”
Giedo van der Garde, car #21, CT03-#04: “Germany is going to be a great race, partly because the track is relatively near home for me so there will be a lot of Dutch support there, and because it’s a track I’ve always gone well at. Throughout my career I’ve won races there in all categories – I know that’s not going to happen this year but, as a rookie, when you go to a track you know really well it means you’re on it right from the first lap and that helps us maximise the time we have in every session, as long as the weather stays dry which it looks like it should!
“It’ll be the first time for me around the Nurburgring in an F1 car but I last raced there in a GP2 car back in 2011 so I know quite a lot of what to expect. Like Spa the weather can change very quickly so we have to pay very close attention to the forecasts and, even though the track is used a lot outside F1 weekends, the grip levels still improve quite a bit over the weekend so the long run work we’ll do on Friday will be very important for the race. The track itself is mostly made up of low to medium speed corners – apart from T5 there’s not a lot of really high speed stuff but despite that it’s still a very good track to drive on. You can build up a good rhythm and that’s one of the keys to a good lap.”
Marussia F1 Tea
What we’re saying about the Formula 1 Grosser Preis Santander von Deutschland 2013
The Marussia F1 Team cars and equipment headed straight to Germany on Sunday evening following the Team’s home race at Silverstone, ready for Round 9 of the 19 race World Championship, the Formula 1 Grosser Preis Santander von Deutschland 2013. This is the third of six back to back races on the 2013 calendar and the penultimate round before the sport enters the Summer Shutdown period which marks the midpoint of the season.
Jules Bianchi, Driver #22
“It’s hard to believe that we are almost at the middle of the season. The races are really starting to come quickly, so it is especially important that we stay focused now, as in Silverstone we didn’t achieve our objective of staying ahead of the Caterham and we have to turn that situation around again. We need to give ourselves a better chance for the race by having a stronger preparation on Friday and Saturday, to leave us in the best position. I have raced at the Nürburgring on a few occasions previously in the junior formulae – the last time in 2011. I’m looking forward to returning there.”
Max Chilton, Driver #23
“I really enjoyed the experience of my first home Grand Prix and would like to thank the fans for their fantastic support. Such is the pace of F1 though we are already heading into our next race weekend, this time in Germany. With just a few days between races, I’ve spent those training before heading out on Wednesday. I’ve also caught up with my engineers on what we learned from the race and we’ll continue that process over the next couple of days as we need to give ourselves the best possible run-up to the weekend. Qualifying is an area we particularly need to improve on, so that’s the first objective. I’m very pleased with my record of finishes – eight in eight races – so naturally I’m keen to keep that going.”
John Booth, Team Principal, Marussia F1 Team
“Our home race at Silverstone provided a further reminder of how hard we have to keep working to achieve our goals for the season. We are very satisfied with our current level of reliability; we’ve brought two cars home in seven out of eight races. Now we have to work to extract every ounce of performance from the package. Last weekend we demonstrated that a particular area of focus for us is qualifying, and we’ve spent the past couple of days taking a good look at all the data collected to see how we can improve. This has been an interesting turnaround for the race team, with our cars and equipment heading straight from Silverstone to Germany on Sunday evening. Nonetheless, everything is in place logistically and now our thoughts turn to the progress we can make on the racetrack this weekend.”
German Grand Prix Preview: Nurburgring, 5-7 July 2013
PIRELLI BRINGS KEVLAR-BELTED REAR TYRES TO THE NURBURGRING
Just one week after the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Pirelli heads to another legendary venue in motorsport: the Nurburgring in Germany. The tyre nomination is the P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft: a combination not seen since the Chinese Grand Prix in April. However, Pirelli will bring Kevlar-belted rear tyres for both the medium and soft compound to Germany, which have already been tested at the Friday practice sessions in Canada. This moves comes after a series of tyre failures at last week’s British Grand Prix which, as Pirelli has now been able to establish, were caused by a combination of factors like the rear tyres mounted the wrong way around, low tyre pressures, extreme cambers and high kerbs. Even though the 2013 specification of the Pirelli Formula One tyres are completely safe when used in the correct way, the company prefers to bring Kevlar-belted rear tyres to the Nurburgring, as it is a tyre easier to manage.
Paul Hembery: “Surprisingly, the Nurburgring is one of the circuits that we have the least experience of, having only raced there once before in Formula One, but we’re certain that we have chosen the correct compromise between performance and durability by bringing the medium and soft compounds. These were actually the same compounds that we chose for this track in 2011, but since then the tyres have got softer and faster, so we would expect a quicker race time with an average of three pit stops for most drivers. The Nurburgring is not on the whole an especially demanding circuit for tyres but there are still some distinctive aspects to look out for when it comes to tyre management, such as the kerbing on the chicanes. We are expecting a performance gap of 0.8-1.0 second between the two nominated compounds, which should make the strategy options versatile. For this race only, we will bring Kevlar-belted rear tyres, following the incidents at the British Grand Prix. Even though the 2013 high-performance steel-belted version is completely safe when used correctly, the Kevlar-belted version is easier to manage and as long as there is no system in place which allows us to enforce tyre related specifications, like tyre pressures or camber, the incorrect use of which were contributing factors of the tyre failures in Silverstone, we prefer to bring a less sophisticated tyre. From the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards there will be a completely new range of tyres, combining the characteristics of our 2012 tyres with the increased performance of the 2013 specification.”
Jean Alesi: “The Nurburgring is a legendary name but personally I never found the modern circuit particularly involving, although it has changed a lot during the years. It’s a circuit that tends to be quite kind to tyres, so the question of tyre management isn’t a big one: you just drive as hard as you like. There’s always been a good atmosphere though as the fans are very enthusiastic, and I am sure that is just the same now. You have quite a variety of different corners in the lap so it’s mostly a question of finding a good rhythm and stringing them together in the most efficient way. I always thought of Nurburgring as a reasonably straightforward race: it’s not so much a big challenge but more a test of precision and not making any mistakes. If you start in a good grid position and have a clean race you should come away with a good result: you don’t often see big surprises. That’s unless it rains of course: then anything can happen…”
The circuit from a tyre point of view:
Built next door to the legendary Nordschleife, the modern Nurburgring is a fast and flowing circuit that is mostly made up of medium speed corners, with a technical infield section as well. One of the big variables in the region will once more be the weather, so a versatile tyre selection is essential in order to cope with a potential wide range of temperatures.
There are a number of reasonably fast direction changes at the Nurburgring. This increases the amount of lateral energy going through the tyres and therefore heat build-up. That is the biggest reason for wear and degradation on the tyres at the Nurburgring rather traction and braking events, which are on the whole limited.
Frequent rain in the area means that the track is often more ‘green’ than other circuits, particularly at the start of the weekend, as the moisture washes away any rubber that has been deposited on the track. With more rubber laid down, grip increases and wear decreases.
With no tyre data from last year on this circuit, the work of the teams during free practice will be particularly important when it comes to assessing how the latest 2013 tyres react in different temperatures and with different fuel loads. The information gathered on Friday, which is confirmed in the final free practice session on Saturday morning, essentially decides the strategy for qualifying and the race.
Further information about the Nurburgring and the demands it places on tyres, as well as more information about how circuits rubber in at each race, can be found on a 3D animated video starring Pirelli’s Racing Manager Mario Isola.
Technical tyre notes:
The first corner is particularly challenging at the Nurburgring, particularly after the start where it is often the scene of accidents. Under acceleration out of it, the back of the car can step out, placing heavy demands on the rear tyres – as they need to guarantee a combination of grip and traction on one of the most technical parts of the circuit that is key to a fast lap time.
Turn seven is also particularly tricky: there is a deceleration of 5g heading into it and the front-left tyre has to do a lot of work here to compensate for the unusual camber of the circuit.
One of the keys to a quick lap is negotiating the kerbing correctly at the NGK Chicane. The drivers hit the kerbs hard, which puts a force equivalent to 800 kilogrammes through the tyre.
The tyre choices so far:
|PZero Red||PZero Yellow||PZero White||PZero Orange|
Meet the Pirelli F1 Team: Alexandra Schieren, Head of F1 Communications
Alexandra was born and raised in a small town 25 kilometres from Cologne in Western Germany. She studied languages and gained a diploma in translation, but her first job with a connection to motorsport was as an assistant in the media and PR department of Toyota Team Europe in Cologne: which at the time was a major force in the World Rally Championship. Her role came to an abrupt end when Toyota was disqualified from the series for cheating (she had nothing to do with that) and she then moved to London with a job in a communications agency where she tasted a wide variety of motorsport, from International Touring Cars to GT to Formula One. After a few years in London she moved to Paris and was later recruited by the FIA – world motorsport’s governing body – as Media Delegate for Formula One. When Pirelli returned to Formula One in 2011, Alexandra was asked to look after all Formula One-related communication. This involves answering general media requests, organising interviews and media events, overseeing external communications, and working with other departments within Pirelli and the various Pirelli markets. Alexandra lives in the countryside just outside Paris – a pleasant contrast to the often hectic lifestyle of Formula One – and enjoys reading books in different languages to expand her knowledge, with Italian being top of the list at the moment. She loves being in different places, just hates flying to have to get there…
Other news from Pirelli:
Pirelli chairman Marco Tronchetti Provera picked up the ‘2013 Social Responsibility Award’ on behalf of Pirelli from the Foreign Policy Association in New York last week. The award reflects Pirelli’s consistent leadership of the Dow Jones sustainability index in the auto parts and tyre sector.
Pirelli hosted its home round of the Superbike World Championship at Imola last weekend, round seven of the series that is exclusively supplied by the Italian firm. Tom Sykes won both races, catapulting the British driver to the top of the standings.
The latest round of the Pirelli-equipped British Rally Championship, the all-gravel Scottish Rally, took place last weekend. Alastair Fisher won in a Citroen DS3 R3T: a car that he also drives on the Pirelli-backed Citroen Top Driver Series on the World Rally Championship.
The third round of the Pirelli-backed Blancpain Endurance Series took place at Paul Ricard in France. Marc VDS Racing Team’s Maxime Martin, Bas Leinders and Yelmer Buurman took their first win of the season in a Pirelli-supported BMW Z4.
Pirelli also competed in the world’s highest race: the famed Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado (USA) that finishes at an altitude of 4,300 metres. The Pirelli-shod Porsche 911 of Californian Jeff Zwart finished third in its class and 10th overall.
The last time a German Grand prix took place at the Nurburgring was in 2011.
The P Zero yellow soft and P Zero white medium have been nominated for the 2013 German Grand Prix.
Renault Sport F1