Posts Tagged ‘2009’

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BMW plays its part in the Young Driver Days at Jerez.

November 25, 2009

Alexander Rossi and Esteban Gutiérrez drive a BMW Sauber F1.09.

Munich/Hinwil, November 24th 2009. Despite pulling out of Formula One, BMW is staying true to its promise of giving two talented young Formula BMW drivers their first taste of an F1 car. Alexander Rossi and Esteban Gutiérrez will take part in the official Formula One test for young drivers at Jerez from 1st – 3rd December 2009.

“Depriving these junior drivers of the test we had promised them was not an option for us, even after the withdrawal of BMW from Formula One,” said BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. “BMW remains committed to motor sport and is keen to continue making a contribution to well-structured talent development.”

Rossi, from Nevada City in California, earned his opportunity to test an F1 car by taking victory in the 2008 Formula BMW World Final in Mexico City. The 18-year-old qualified for the international showdown by winning the Formula BMW Americas series earlier that year.

The 2009 season saw Rossi finish fourth overall in the International Formula Master series and wrap up the rookies’ title in the process. Shortly before his 18th birthday – which he celebrated on 25th September 2009 – the American was able to familiarise himself with the Jerez circuit during a test in a GP2 car. He went on to make his GP2 Asia debut in Abu Dhabi during the final weekend of the Formula One season on 31stOctober/1st November, finishing fourth in race 1 and fifth in the sprint race.

As Rossi is keen to emphasise: “I take the opportunity to present myself as a driver at Formula One level very seriously and I’m very aware of the far-reaching potential it has. I feel very fortunate and my goals for the test are to put in a fantastic performance while fully absorbing the whole experience. There is a growing list of people that have helped me get where I am today. This is a team effort and I am very grateful for this support. A special thanks to BMW Motorsport Director Dr. Mario Theissen for making this test possible and having the confidence in me.”

Gutiérrez – another 18-year-old – also secured his place at the Formula One test on the back of strong performances in Formula BMW. Having swept to the 2008 Formula BMW Europe title in convincing fashion, the Mexican went into the World Final on home territory as favourite, eventually finishing third.

Gutiérrez was born in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon on 5th August 1991 and now lives in Paris. This year he finished ninth in the drivers’ standings in the Formula 3 Euro Series. A GP2 test at Jerez in October enabled him, like Rossi, to gain prior knowledge of the track in southern Spain. In early November he completed a two-day test in a GP2 car in Le Castellet, southern France.

The Mexican explains: “We have put all our efforts into the preparations for this great opportunity that will provide me with an insight into what the future may bring. The opportunity to drive a Formula One car is the fulfilment of part of my dreams. I feel very pleased and will use this experience to learn about and experience the professionalism of a Formula One team. This will help me to find the aspects where I need to work on myself more. This test is the achievement of many people who have given me support. It is also an honour for me to represent my home country Mexico. I will deliver my best.”

The three days of testing (for young drivers who have taken part in no more than two Formula One events) were written into the FIA rule-book for 2009. A large number of F1 teams are expected to travel to Jerez, not least because no other testing has been permitted since the start of the season and the ban remains in force until 31st December.

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2009 Season Review with Hirohide Hamashima, Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development

November 13, 2009

What were the key factors for Bridgestone in 2009? We re-introduced slick tyres and this was a significant change in philosophy in the Formula One regulations away from the grooved tyres of the previous eleven seasons. The aerodynamic regulation changes meant that teams had to work hard to develop and refine their cars though the season, and this was made harder with there being no testing. We worked very closely with all of the teams to help them to achieve their goals in this intense competition. This season we also responded to requests to make a bigger difference between the two different compounds that the regulations stipulate we bring to races. We achieved this with the concept of different temperature working ranges for our tyre allocations and this added another element of challenge for competitors at races.

Which were the most significant factors for the sport this season? I think that the changes in regulations combined with no testing provided the biggest challenge. Previously there would be test days all through the season and teams would be able to develop their cars and test parts with the luxury of time and mileage. This year’s change meant that we saw a variety of competitors at the front of the field, and some incredible developments to the cars over the season despite these limiting factors.

Bridgestone used slick tyres in its first season of Formula One – how much tyre development has there been in the intervening eleven years? We have learnt a lot from our participation in Formula One. The eleven seasons with grooved tyres were very good for our development. A grooved tyre is not a natural racing tyre so making it perform like one was a big challenge. The return to slicks meant we could apply the technology and lessons learnt to the ultimate racing tyre that is a slick.

Next season there will be a smaller front tyre, tell us about this. For 2010 we will have a narrower front tyre. This will help to bring a better grip balance between the front and the rear grip of the cars. When we changed back to slick tyres the grooved tyre size was retained, meaning that the front gained proportionally more grip than the rear. This is addressed by making the front tyre narrower.

Also next year, there will be no refuelling – how much of an impact does this have for Bridgestone? The cars will be around 100kg heavier at the start of a race so the tyre needs to be stronger. However, when you consider that the downforce acting on a car can be as much as 2000kg an extra 100kg is not so much of a change for us in terms of our tyre compounds and construction. For competitors the omission of refuelling will add another challenge and I expect we will see an evolution of race strategies through the season as everyone begins to understand what works best. Drivers will have to use their tyre management skills at the beginning of the race, especially at the start, when the cars are heaviest and the tyres at their coolest.

There is the new destination of Korea on the provisional calendar for next year – are you looking forward to racing at another new location? We have welcomed many new circuits to Formula One over the past few seasons and it is always interesting to embrace new challenges. Korea will be a new circuit on the calendar and we are also due to return to Montreal which can provide its very own challenges. Nineteen races will mean that we are very busy through the year!