After a one-year absence, Hockenheim makes its return to the Formula 1 calendar at the German Grand Prix. While the track has changed beyond recognition since its original flat-out incarnation of the 1930s, a distinct flavor of the traditional challenge remains, with long straights as well as the newer and more technical ‘Motodrom’ section, where the cars negotiate a series of tight corners in front of packed grandstands.
The Hockenheimring circuit from a tyre point of view:
• With medium, soft and ultrasoft nominated, there’s another ‘step’ in the tyre selection. This combination was last used in China, contributing to an exciting strategic battle.
• As Hockenheim mainly consists of slow to medium speed corners connected by straights, it’s all about traction and braking – and looking after the rear tyres is particularly important.
• The most demanding corner for tyres is Turn 5, which is a long left-hander.
• The track surface is quite smooth, so heavy wear or degradation is not expected. However overtaking is reasonably tricky, so pit stop strategy could make an important difference.
• The weather in Germany at this time of year is known for its unpredictability, with sunshine or heavy rain a possibility.
• Back in 2016, when the German Grand Prix was last held at Hockenheim, Lewis Hamilton won the race with three stops, using the supersoft and soft compounds.
Pirelli’s racing manager Mario Isola comments on what to expect ahead of the 2018 German Grand Prix in terms of tyre management: “Germany is a bit of an unknown quantity, with no grand prix having taken place there since 2016. In the meantime, a lot has changed on the cars as well as of course the tyre range, while the Hockenheimring itself is substantially unaltered. Once again, we’ve decided to incorporate a step in the tyres that we’ve nominated in order to provide a roughly equal performance gap between the chosen compounds. This contributed to a great race in China, with some interesting repercussions on strategy, so hopefully it will be the same again. The data collected in free practice will be especially important as teams re-acquaint themselves with the circuit and also work out how best to use the tyre nomination to their advantage.” – Mario Isola explained, as reported earlier today by Pirelli’s official website.
• Hockenheim and the German Grand Prix, both of which have made only sporadic appearances on the calendar recently.
• A ‘jump’ between the nominated compounds, for the second time this year (after China).
• Nearly all the championship protagonists have all picked seven sets of the ultrasoft tyre (eight for Daniel Ricciardo) but they differ in their nominations of the harder compounds.
• Unusually for a European race, there is no Formula 2 or GP3 in Germany.
Min starting pressures (slicks)
21.5 psi (front) | 20.0 psi (rear)