German Grand Prix Preview – AT&T Williams
When: Friday 22 to Sunday 24 July, 2011
Where: Nürburgring, Germany
Round: 10 of 19
Sitting in the shadow of the majestic 22km Nürburgring Nordschleife, the modern day ’Ring is definitely the poorer relation. But as modern circuits go, the 5.148km track has its merits. It has a couple of good overtaking places; there’s a quick chicane (the Schumacher ‘S’) that requires commitment from the drivers and the atmosphere will no doubt be excellent now that there are two German World Champions on the grid.
The cars run with maximum downforce, so aero efficiency is vital. And you can never discount the weather in the Eiffel Mountains, even in July; rain is never far away.
Sam Michael, Technical Director: Nürburgring is a high downforce track with lots of challenging corner sequences, some off camber turns and kerbs. Set-up will be focussed on the slow and medium speed corners. We have a new rear wing, front wing and revised engine mapping for the exhaust blowing on over-run that has now been reinstated.
Rubens Barrichello: Nürburgring is very special to me as I won there for Ferrari and I really like the track a lot. The circuit has a lot of camber changes and so it is pretty difficult to get the best car set-up, but that just makes it all the more interesting. There is normally a chance of rain as well which adds another element into the mix. The corner onto the back straight is one of the best in my opinion. I hope we can have a good performing car this weekend and I will be giving my very best to score some points.
Pastor Maldonado: The Nürburgring is always amazing to visit because of its history, the combination of different technical corners and the fans there. I hope to improve on our last result and be more competitive, especially in the race. The second sector is my favourite part of the track as it has high speed, very technical corners. I first raced at the Nürburgring in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series in 2006 and qualified on pole but I had problems in the race. I also raced at the track during my time in GP2, scoring my best result of fourth in 2007.
From Cosworth’s perspective: The Nürburgring is a relatively unknown quantity for the latest generation Cosworth engine as the circuit was not on the 2010 calendar. Cosworth F1 engines last raced at the Nürburging in 2006 but the drive for efficiency and performance in recent years means that the CA2011k is more powerful than its 2006 predecessor while using 10% less fuel on each lap.
The high average car speed around the circuit means that it is not particularly demanding in terms of fuel consumption. A strong lap time will depend on good engine torque and drivability through the tight turns 1 and 3.
From Pirelli’s perspective: We’re bringing our PZero White medium tyres and PZero Yellow soft tyres as the prime and option choice respectively: the same combination that we used for the first time at the European Grand Prix. These two compounds are quite closely matched so there are definitely some opportunities for strategy to come into play here. There are more German drivers on the grid than any other nationality, so we hope it’s going to be a very closely fought contest. One of the question marks in the Eifel region is always the weather: we saw a great performance from our intermediate tyres in Britain and we certainly wouldn’t rule out the possibility of having to use them again in Germany.