Spanish Grand Prix, Jerez: Bridgestone Preview
With Spanish riders winning the first two races of what has been an exciting season so far, a large and enthusiastic crowd is expected at the Jerez circuit this weekend. At 4.423 kilometres in length, the circuit’s flowing layout has produced many exciting battles over the years and testing in dry conditions earlier this year saw the top ten riders produce lap times within one second of each other, so the signs are good for another close contest this weekend.
Comprising eight right-hand and five left-hand corners, Jerez is the only circuit on the calendar that doesn’t require asymmetric rear slicks. The three options of symmetric rear slick available at Jerez – the extra-soft, soft and medium compounds – are towards the softer end of the range Bridgestone provides to ensure optimum warm-up performance and safety at a venue that can experience a wide range of temperatures. The softer rear slick options also ensure maximum grip at high lean angles which is important at Jerez where good corner speed is crucial to making competitive lap times. The emphasis on edge grip over braking stability is also reflected in the front slick tyre allocation for this race, where the soft and medium compound options are offered.
Following tyre analysis at the Jerez pre-season test at the end of March, Bridgestone quickly acted to revise its wet tyre allocation for the upcoming race weekend. Alongside the main specification, hard wet tyre compound, an alternative extra-hard rear wet tyre will be offered for greater durability against the abrasive Jerez tarmac. The Spanish Grand Prix is the only race on the calendar where an extra-hard wet tyre option will be made available.
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium; Rear: Extra-soft, Soft, Medium (Symmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative – front), Extra-hard (Alternative – rear)
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“I am very much looking forward to this weekend as it is always special racing in Europe and with the exciting start we‘ve had to the season and the success of the Spanish riders in the championship so far, I expect a large and vocal crowd to be present at Jerez.
“During the Jerez test, tyre analysis revealed our hard compound wet rear tyre exhibited high wear and abrasion on the combination of the latest machines and the abrasive track surface, so we immediately changed our production schedule to ensure supply of an alternative extra-hard rear wet tyres for the upcoming race. This is a special wet tyre produced just for the Spanish Grand Prix and is a compound that isn’t part of our regular wet tyre allocation.”
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Jerez is a technical circuit with a mix of fast and slow corners. It is a good test circuit because of the diversity of the corner layout and this means that we require a tyre with a very balanced character to provide good handling from low speed to high speed and from flat corners to changes in elevation. The surface is smooth which is easier for the tyre’s centre section but it is also abrasive so we have to pick compounds that can withstand abrasion. Although the track temperature during the race weekend is historically high, in the last couple of years we’ve also experienced cooler conditions at times, so our tyres have to perform over a wide range of temperatures.
“At the Jerez pre-season test we were able to test our wet tyres in a wide range of conditions from damp to fully wet, and we discovered that the wear of the hard compound wet rear tyre in some cases was severe. As the grip feeling from the hard compound wet tyre was adequate in cool conditions, we discussed with the riders about changing the wet tyre allocation for the Jerez race and it was agreed that we would bring an extra-hard wet rear tyre as our alternative specification. Each rider this weekend will now be given a maximum of two extra-hard rear wet tyres as an alternative to the main hard compound wet tyre.”
Source: Bridgestone Motorsport Press Release