Bridgestone are expecting Shanghai, venue of the next grand prix of 2010, to provide a tough test for their tyre compounds.
The two long straights and sixteen corners require heavy braking, provide extreme lateral loads and place high demands on traction, all of which are factors that Bridgestone's tyres will encounter.
The company highlight turns 2 and 7, which are likely to induce tyre graining, whilst the high lateral G-force generated through the turns 7 and 8 will place strong demands on the tyres' construction and heat durability. Bridgestone also note the gradient changes over the course of a lap as well as the banking in turn 13.
Hiroshi Yasukawa, director of Bridgestone motorsport, highlights the commercial benefits of Formula 1 visiting this Asian country. “China is a rapidly expanding automotive market so it is good for Bridgestone to have a highly visible event like the Chinese Grand Prix to promote our technology here. In China we have tyre production, natural and synthetic rubber and steel cord facilities, a technical centre and proving ground, as well as a number of plants for our diversified products so it is a very important location for us.”
The Director of Motorsport Tyre Development, Hirohide Hamashima, knows that China will provide a tough test for the tyres. “Shanghai International Circuit is severe on tyres. There are very high lateral forces and we expect to see graining on the front left tyres, especially caused by the increasing radius turn two and the banked turn thirteen. We could also see graining on the rear tyres here too. We are a step harder in our allocation for this year compared to 2009 because of the heavier cars and the severity of this track.
“The circuit layout means that a medium downforce set-up will be used, as there are two long straights, but a large percentage of the track is also very twisty and technical. For the teams and drivers, finding the correct set-up to make the best use of their tyres will be a big challenge. Last year the challenge was the weather, and we saw our wet tyres used for most of the race. It was not the first time we have had wet conditions in China so the sky will be a strong consideration for this weekend.”