The FIA Formula Two Championship will utilise Yokohama tyres for the 2012 season, on an upgraded, faster car.
The improvements that have been made to the Williams-designed single-seater are worth around two seconds-per-lap, and have been developed over the past year with the help of reigning champion Mirko Bortolotti.
The most significant aspect of the upgrade is the switch of tyre supplier from Avon to Japanese manufacturer Yokohama. The new tyres will offer improved stability and balance, as well as offer more precise feedback to the drivers. An additional set of slick tyres will also be made available to each driver, to give them more running on fresh rubber during every weekend.
The car will also feature new carbon composite brakes, reducing weight and increasing performance. During the recent tests at Barcelona the improved machine posted a fastest time that was 2.363 seconds quicker than the quickest lap recorded by one of the older cars.
“We're delighted to confirm our new partnership between Formula Two and Yokohama,” said series chief executive Jonathan Palmer, after unveiling the 2012 car at Autosport International Show in Birmingham on Thursday together with Yokohama's Head of Motorsport Kazu Sekiguchi.
“Given the impressive results achieved in testing so far we're confident our new tyres will deliver enhanced performance both in terms of pace and also consistency, which is crucial in maintaining the completely equal environment of F2. This forms a significant part of an upgrade package that will see the Williams JPH1B F2 car lap around two seconds faster than its 2011 equivalent. We're now looking forward to working with Yokohama on further developments ahead of the season opener at Silverstone in April.”
Also present was the managing director of Yokohama's UK arm David Seward. “F2 has quickly established a name as one of the most exciting championships around and we are very proud to have been chosen as the control tyre for such a prestigious race series,” he said. “This is a fantastic platform to demonstrate the quality, performance and technology that is synonymous with the Yokohama brand and we look forward with great excitement to the season ahead.”
Bortolotti commented: “The car felt good and performed really well. The new tyres perfectly suit the car and react well offering increased grip, even at Barcelona which is very hard on tyres. These combined well with the new brakes which are 12 kilos lighter and allowed me to brake harder and later.
“Throughout the test we were consistently lapping quickly, in and around the 1:34s, and I think from a driver's point of view all these features will improve the feeling of the F2 car and be a good thing for the 2012 season.”