Pirelli German Grand Prix Preview
Going back to Hockenheim isn’t exactly like visiting a new circuit – as the German track is an established venue – but this year that is almost the case, as the last time an F1 race was held there was in 2014, the first season of the new hybrid era.
Since then, there has been plenty of car evolution. As a result, we can expect lap times that are considerably quicker than they were two years ago, with a consequent increased demand on tires. Pirelli has nominated the medium, soft and supersoft tires for Germany (the same as for the previous weekend in Hungary): introducing a harder option compared to Hockenheim in 2014, when just the soft and the supersoft compounds were chosen.
THE CIRCUIT FROM A TIRE POINT OF VIEW:
• There’s a bit of everything, with fast straights as well as a more technical stadium section.
• Weather is hard to predict: on Saturday in 2014 ambient temperatures peaked at 38 degrees.
• There’s a very smooth track surface in Hockenheim, which helps to limit wear and degradation.
• It’s important to look after the rear tires, as there is lots of acceleration out of slow corners.
• As well as traction, braking is another key aspect: tires are subject to maximum deceleration.
• Turn 5 puts a lot of energy through the tires: a fast left-hander taken almost as a straight line.
THE THREE NOMINATED COMPOUNDS:
• White medium: a mandatory set that must be available for the race, low working range.
• Yellow soft: another mandatory set whose versatility will make it a popular race tire.
• Red supersoft: will be used for qualifying and the early part of race: again low working range.
HOW IT WAS TWO YEARS AGO:
• Nico Rosberg won his home race with a two-stop strategy. He started on supersoft and then changed to soft on laps 15 and 41. The supersoft was around a second per lap faster than soft.
• Best alternative strategy: His team mate Lewis Hamilton finished third with a three-stop sprint strategy, making up 17 places after starting 20th on the grid following an accident in qualifying.
PAUL HEMBERY, PIRELLI MOTORSPORT DIRECTOR:
“Hockenheim will be a bit of an unknown quantity: we’ve not raced there for two years, and even before then it was a race that alternated with the Nurburgring, so everybody is lacking historical data compared to other venues we visit. The cars are obviously going a lot quicker than they were in 2014, which is why we have introduced a tire nomination that is a step harder compared to last time. The most notable feature of that 2014 race was the variable weather: on race day track temperatures were 20 degrees cooler than they had been on the very hot qualifying day. With the German Grand Prix taking place at the same time of year again, there is obviously the potential for similar variation.”