2012 Season Round 8 Preview – Hockenheim, Germany
Back to the precious Ring
July is a busy month for the GP2 Series drivers. Two weeks ago at a rain-hit Silverstone, Luiz Razia claimed back control of the Series after another strong weekend in Great Britain which saw the mighty Brazilian collect yet another win – that’s four this season. Davide Valsecchi did well to recover from a disastrous qualifying result in style with a podium finish in the Sprint Race but it was simply not enough to keep the lead and stop Razia from shining. Both men will be ones to watch again this weekend in Germany as they will battle on track for more points and ultimate glory, unless Esteban Gutiérrez swoops in and steals the show. The Mexican has pocketed two Feature Race wins back-to-back and will definitely be hoping for a hat trick, but he has been handed a place grid position penalty for this weekend and will have to fight even harder.
This week marks the return of GP2 to Hockenheim. It will be the first time that Caterham Racing and Carlin will race on that track with the Series, but it will also be the first time that all drivers will race on Pirelli tyres at Hockenheimring. The German circuit is not especially aggressive on tyres and the most important thing is to have compounds that are adaptable to a wide range of conditions, especially given the fact that weather conditions in the local area can be changeable at this time of year.
There is not expected to be a very large variation in performance between the two compounds selected (Medium and Soft) under equal conditions, so it will be vital for the teams to understand fully the performance and degradation data to plan an effective strategy. The extra set of soft tyres should give them the additional running to capture all the information they need.
Pirelli’s racing manager Mario Isola said: “Hockenheim will be a new experience for us with GP2 and we need to keep an open mind as to what to expect, particularly in terms of weather conditions. The German circuit does not make any particular demands on the compound and structure in a specific area, but instead there are quite a wide range of different parameters that are tested. Traction is certainly a key issue, because of all the slow to medium speed corners, but the tyres also have to withstand sustained high speed on the long straights and heavy braking. After the weather in Silverstone meant that the GP2 drivers were not able to take advantage of the new tyre regulations, it will be very interesting to see what they can do in Germany.”