Key wary of “extreme” Hockenheim tyres

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Sauber technical director James Key says the team will have a busier than usual workload ahead of the German Grand Prix as the team gets to grips with the “extreme” tyre options being provided by Bridgestone.

Teams will have to use tyres from the opposite end of Bridgestone’s range of compounds – the super-soft and hard tyres – for the first time ever next week.

Key said:

It?s quite a different track to the last two. It?s more a mix of slow speed corners in the final section, where you can gain lap time if you get it right, and to a certain extent quite a bit of straight line running. It?s gonna be a trade-off between downforce and drag. Braking stability will be important to get the best out of the slow speed corners. There are some high speed areas, which we think will suit our car well.

Most interestingly it?s a circuit where you have one or two good overtaking opportunities. Tyre compounds are extreme, they are either very soft or very hard, so it will be interesting to see how that works out for qualifying and the race. This will increase the workload on Friday and Saturday to make sure we have a good understanding of both compounds.

We will have several aero updates on our C29, including a modified diffuser. It?s a package which is again a step in the same direction we?ve been pursuing for Valencia and Silverstone.
James Key

After a difficult start to the season, Sauber have scored points in the last two races thanks to Kamui Kobayashi.

The C29 seems to work best on tracks that require optimum aerodynamic performance – and Hockenheim doesn’t quite fit the bill as Pedro de la Rosa explains:

I hope we can carry on with the performance we had in Silverstone, although Hockenheim doesn?t offer so many high speed corners.

The team has improved the car quite a lot since Valencia, and in Silverstone we were able to get the most out of the car?s potential. It was very good on Saturday and, of course, I was deeply disappointed when I could not finish the race and score.

But I have to look forward, and I think I can fight for points. The Hockenheim track tends to be hard on the rear tyres and we will have to work around that.
Pedro de la Rosa

De la Rosa is yet to score on his F1 comeback, but qualified in the top ten at Silverstone.

Read more: Bridgestone changes tyre choices for five rounds to produce more exciting races

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21 comments on “Key wary of “extreme” Hockenheim tyres”

  1. I’m not sure this extreme tyre thing is going to make too much differance. The front 10 will all qualify on S-Softs, might be something good if some at the back go for hards.

    Now if multi soft strategies become possible, then we’ll have such a race on our hands.

    1. multi soft strategies?

      don’t you mean if we had some hard tyres in the top 10 then we’d have a race! like canada.

      1. The hard tyres in the top removed any chance of them winning the race. I’m pretty sure the other teams are still laughing about that blunder.

        1. In Canada? I thought it was because the hards didn’t last long enough to leapfrog the soft runners — not because the hard tyres didn’t offer the pace.

    2. I agree, i think what made it work well before was not that one tyre degraded quickly but that both tyres did.

  2. Er, no, I mean if the optimum tyre strategy might be to do two sprint stints on the softs, or something. Hard tyres in the top ten would mean a Kobayashi style late stop an sprint, which might also be good. Expect some out of the top ten to possibly try that.

    1. If that is the optimum strategy it would be the first. In Canada the hard tyre being too soft caused the extra stops.

      1. It was more about the tarmac in Canada graining the hards quicker, rather than the hard compound being too “soft”.

    2. lets no forget that canada had mediums and super soft whereas hockenheim will have hards and super softs. so perhaps we will see cars in the top 5 starting on the prime tyre.

  3. When he says a new diffuser package will be taken to Germany, do you think it will be an exhaust diffuser?

  4. Germany may not be the place as mentioned where they will be benefited but I think that they will do a better job in Span & Monza where there are many high speed corners

  5. really want someone from the top 10 to do Q3 on the hard compound – ideally be the first out on the track in Q3 with enough fuel to last 7-8 laps and keep putting in their best lap after lap and hopefully qualify high enough to start the race on P3-P6.
    Starting the race on the harder compound is really an advantage since the pace initially is limited by the fuel load, as the track gets rubbered in and fuel loads reduce – there is every chance of being able to push harder during the final 10-15 laps on the super soft compound
    Its about time someone tried something different, Ferrari perhaps with one of their cars !?

    1. But after doing that many laps on the hard tyres, they are not going to last very much in the race.

      That’s what RBR and Renault found out in Canada (even though it will not be as extreme here), they did about 5 laps on the hard tyres, plus drive to the grid, plus warm up lap, and the tyres had only about 15 further laps on them.

      1. In this case it’s not the number of laps put on the tyres that wears them, it’s the heat cycles.

        Doing a short quali run (out lap, hot lap, in lap), or a single lap to the grid, or a warm up lap… these are very short runs on the tyres, and the hard tyre doesn’t warm up so easily. So for most of the time during those short runs, the tyres are slipping on the tarmac and not gripping properly, this causes graining and excessive wear. After 3 short runs the tyres are looking shoddy and don’t last long in the actual race.

        1. Thanks for clearing that.
          It seems the effect still is that running the hards in qualifying is not a very good option, unless your able to get heat into them immediately.

  6. I don’t like the extreme step in compounds that they’ve brought in for this race. Its fair enough if they want to bring in the softer range in hope that they might go off quicker, but what they are doing for Hockenheim is just plain gimmicky. I know Canada was a good race but generally I prefer not to see things decided by tyres, its like the tyre war days.

    I don’t reckon anyone will try to qualify on the hards though after Canada, the safest thing to do will be to mirror each other.

  7. What made Canada a “good” race was another RBR strategic fail, in that case, running the hard tire in Q3. It was obvious by lap 7 that this was a catastrophe. In fact, RBR fails have made for much of the interest in the races this year.

    After seeing how well Hamilton started the last two races and the costs of RBR’s lousy starts, I think the teams will not be so keen on coming off the line on hard tires, least of all RBR and Ferrari.

    1. Even on the softs the Red Bulls didn’t have the best pace, so it wasn’t all down to tyre choice.

  8. Cars will basically come in on Lap 10 and then stay out forever on the hards…

    1. we’ll see how the tyres perform on friday. hards could be awful too.

  9. Jose Arellano
    16th July 2010, 19:50

    they should raise the pit lane speed limit. or shorten the actual pit lane, so going for more stops becomes an option

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