Bridgestone Prepares for Shanghai’s “High Lateral Forces”
Bridgestone is readying itself for the Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit on 16-18 April, in what the company’s Motorsport division director calls “a very important location” due to the rapid expansion of the country’s automotive market. In this respect, Hiroshi Yasukawa continues, “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.”
The Shanghai track is severe for tyres, with two long straights and sixteen corners of varying types over its 5.45 km. Heavy braking, extreme lateral loads and high demands on traction are just some of the factors that Bridgestone’s tyres will encounter. Turns two and seven are likely to induce tyre graining, whilst the high lateral G-force generated through the sequence of turns seven and eight will place strong demands on the tyres’ construction and heat durability. There is an element of gradient changes over the course of a lap as well as an element of banking in turn 13.
Hirohide Hamashima – Bridgestone director of Motorsport Tyre Development, says: “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.”