D he Hockenheimring is a mix of everything. There are fast corners like entering the Motodrom at 220 km /h. There are miserably slow corners like the hairpin at 55 km /h. And there is a 1,060 meter long full-throttle passage, on which a top speed of 319 km /h was measured in 2010. For brakes and tires it is a medium-difficult route. The grip on the asphalt is average, the downforce roughly on par with Valencia.
New Pirelli territory, Hockenheim
There are 54 gear changes per lap, and 71 percent of the lap are stationary the drivers fully on the gas. That is a surprising amount. Four hard braking maneuvers with a maximum of 5.66 g of deceleration contrast with five passages where traction is important. With an average of 217 km /h, the Hockenheimring is between Montreal (212 km /h) and Melbourne (224 km /h). The tires, at that time still Bridgestone, played no role at the last Hockenheim guest appearance in 2010. Practically all of them came with a stop over the distance. For Pirelli, Hockenheim is new territory.
If you want to find out who will be making the music at the German GP, you have to extrapolate all the data from the present and the past. Two years ago, training and racing resulted in a duel between Ferrari and Red Bull. At that time, Red Bull had just started to make the technology of the blown diffuser socially acceptable. The blue cars were the kings of traction. Ferrari caught its time on the brakes. That evened out.
McLaren was only the third force at the 2010 German GP. With no prospect of a podium. At that time, the development of the blown diffuser was overslept and in Hockenheim they were still in the early stages of development. On a track where good traction can be a match winner, that was too big a handicap. Mercedes was hit even worse. The two Silver Arrows drivers had to be happy to even get into the points.
Red Bull and Ferrari strong again
Can 2010 be transferred to the present? Limited. Red Bull and Ferrari will be strong again. The RB8 and F2012 are the two cars that have shown the fewest fluctuations recently. Red Bull has also had the fast corners under control since the major facelift in Barcelona. But there are only three of them at Hockenheim. Exit Motodrom, approach Mercedes grandstand, entrance Motodrom.
Pirelli's tire options also speak for Red Bull. Soft and medium. As inMelbourne, Shanghai, Bahrain and Valencia. One heats up quickly, the other is an endurance runner. Red Bull won in Bahrain and was vastly superior in Valencia.
In terms of asphalt (medium grip) and tire wear (medium), only Montreal resembles the Hockenheimring in this combination. That's a glimmer of hope for McLaren. The small percentage of fast corners could benefit Mercedes. Both hope for stable weather.
Weather could play the main role again
Unlike their rivals, McLaren and Mercedes have still not solved the tire puzzle. Experience shows that they are always best when the training days go without a change in weather or technical defects. Then there is enough time to tinker with the vehicle setup.
Lotus, on the other hand, has to hope for heat. The track layout is not designed to automatically bring temperature into the tires. Regardless of the track type, Sauber and Williams are candidates for surprises. Both can storm the podium at Hockenheim. When there is a breakdown-free weekend.
In our gallery we have again the pictures of the Hockenheim race 2010.