Bridgestone heads to Europe for the fifth round of the FIA Formula One World Championship where the hard and soft compound Potenza tyres are used for the Spanish Grand Prix on May 7-9.
The 4.66 km Circuit de Catalunya features one long straight and a variety of different corner
types making set-up a compromise. It is relatively harsh for tyres and of particular note the left front tyre is put under significant stress over the course of a lap. As with any circuit, the compromise between finding low drag for the straights and sufficient downforce for the corners is a challenge. Barcelona's numerous bends make for a greater focus on the corners and the high speeds attained here make for significant energy forces on the tyres.
Hiroshi Yasukawa - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport, says:
"This is the first race of the year in Europe so we expect a lot of media attention and predict a very busy weekend. It is the first of two visits to Spain where we have over 4000 employees. Over half of our tyre production from here is exported throughout the European Community. Our Formula One activities have been well received here and assisted us in gaining our high brand awareness in this important market."
Hirohide Hamashima - Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development, says:
"The Circuit de Catalunya is a good indicator of overall car balance and a car which does well here should do well at any track. We expect the weather to be much warmer than when we last visited Barcelona in February for the final pre-season test and we hope we don't see the snow that the circuit experienced in March! The warmer temperatures make a difference to engine power, aerodynamics, tyre grip and so on, so there is a lot to consider. We often see major car upgrades as this is the first European race of the season after the first four fly-away races. The cars have already evolved a lot so it will be interesting to see the differences from when we were here before the season started. The track surface is in the middle range in terms of abrasion and roughness and we will bring our hard and soft Bridgestone Potenzas. The circuit layout is tough on the front left tyre and we expect to see graining on this tyre."