Hockenheim track, called Hockenheimring, plays host to the F1 circus this week. Always a favorite of mine, the track had massive configuration change for the 2002 Grand Prix. There have been many statements for, and many against the change, mainly because of the removal of the old track so that there couldn’t be further “classic” style races held there. Under the old configuration, the cars would hit 200+mph at many points on the track, and race through a long forest section where there was no crowd access. Any passing or accidents that happened in the forest section were only seen by the TV crews. This was the ask for the track, as it was threatened the GP wouldn’t be held at the old Hockenheim if it weren’t to change. The track was changed with a large infield section with easy viewing for the crowd from all angles and locations.

Pirelli’s Preview Of Hockenheim

Hockenheim Alonso 2012

Image courtesy of Pirelli

Since the last time Hockenheim was visited by the F1 teams was 2 years ago, this will be the first year of the new engines and body styles here. So there will be a lot to learn for the teams in free practice 1 certainly. The drivers need to learn where the tyres will work on the surface, since the torque is up from years past. The newer section of the track will be smoother so the tyres will have a bit less traction but the surface is less abrasive so that will extend the tyre’s life. The tyres of choice for this track are the Soft (yellow banded) and Supersoft (red banded).

It’s a pleasure to go back to Hockenheim after two years away, but this increases the workload for ourselves and the teams as the only concrete F1 data we currently have is two years old – when the cars and the tyres were very different. We’ve never been to Hockenheim with the supersoft before, but now that we have collected more data on the compounds this year, we think it should be well-suited to the varying demands of Hockenheim, which used to be one of the fastest circuits in the world, before it was modified in 2002.Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

On The Way To The Track

You’ve all heard the FRIC issue at hand, brought about by Mr. Whiting himself. Though it was meant to disable the “faster” teams, it seems from Silverstone testing, it won’t actually be an issue for most of them, according to the lap times. I’m curious to see if it presents an tyre wear issue however, as you are depending more on the tires to absorb something the FRIC might help with. In addition, the FRIC might help with corner exit traction, so you may have to be a bit lighter on the throttle coming out.

With the Germans winning the World Cup so recently, will another German be spurred on to win this GP? I know Rosberg, Vettel and Hulkenberg were quite excited to see their countrymen win the cup, and I’m interested to see the extra pride they race with here.

Hockenheim is a shorter track now, but it still provides plenty of speed and excitement, with the different radius curves and long back straight. The winning strategy in 2012 by Alonso, was a 2 pit stop, with the medium and soft tyres allocated then. With the soft and supersoft we should see plenty of strategy in the field.

About the author

Jeff Trocchio

Apple IIe green screen is whence I came. Where I go, only technology knows. If its Automotive, Mobile, Gaming or Computer tech I'll try my best to give my thoughts on it.