M it is the tenth of 20 races of the season that is celebrating the Formula 1 year 2012 in Hockenheim mountain festival. For the 33rd time, the premier class is visiting the Motodrom to fight the German GP. With five drivers, the German faction is once again the largest in the field. But in the past few years there was little reason to cheer for the domestic fans in the stands.
Michael Schumacher ensured the last home win on German soil before his comeback in the 2006 season. Another success of the old master 2,183 days later would certainly be a hard-to-beat story. But his Mercedes has not been in top form recently. Sebastian Vettel currently seems to have slightly better chances at Red Bull. In Valencia and Silverstone, the RB8 was the fastest car on the track.
The weather could again play a decisive role. The summer of 2012 is still a long time coming. Especially on Friday and Saturday it will be damp. Even if the sun looks through the clouds, the mercury is unlikely to climb above 25 ° C. The pilots and engineers can expect another difficult task to adapt the tire temperatures ideally to the changing conditions.
The track: Hockenheimring
The 4.574 kilometer long Hockenheimring has been in existence since it was built in the 1930s Several years ago. For a long time, the course was one of the absolute high-speed routes on the calendar. But in 2002 the long straights were shortened through the forest and replaced by the parabolic steroids. At the end of the 1,000-meter-long full-throttle section, the narrow hairpin is the best overtaking opportunity on the route. The DRS zone is also planned here, which begins 260 meters after the exit of turn 4.
In addition to the fast passages, there is traditionally a very slow last sector with the stadium-like Motodrom. The asphalt on the permanent track is not quite as aggressive as on other permanent race tracks. With the “Soft” and “Medium” mixes, Pirelli opted for the safe variant. The Italian rubber manufacturer is on the track in Baden for the first time with the current generation of tires.
Highest lateral acceleration: 3.4 g (curve 12)
Longest full throttle passage: 1,000 meters (between curves 4 and 6)
Proportion of braking phases in theLap time: 13 percent
proportion of the straight in a lap: 60 percent
number of gear changes per lap: 49
full throttle proportion on a lap: 63.5 percent
lowest speed: 63 km /h (curve 6)
Highest cornering speed: 305 km /h (corner 5)
Distance from the starting line to the first corner: 200 meters
Top speed: 310 km /h
Fuel consumption: 2.34 liters /Lap
lost time per 10 kilos of additional weight: 0.38 seconds
tire wear: 3/5
Hockenheim offers a bit of everything. The proportion of long straights is slightly higher than the average. It's not just a long straight line, with turns seven, ten and twelve there are also some fast corners. This is where the lap time is made. The car has to be stable here. Downforce on the front and rear wings must be balanced accordingly.
Although there are also some slower corners with the hairpin and the tight Motodrom, good traction does not play the decisive role at Hockenheim. Curbs and bumps are also not major factors, which is why the engineers can go a little lower with the vehicle height. The brakes are not excessively stressed at Hockenheim, but a good balance is important when decelerating in corners two, six and eight in order to avoid locking wheels.
Updates for the GP Germany:
Some teams have announced larger packages for Hockenheim. McLaren, in particular, needs to do something to stop the negative trend. Team boss Martin Whitmarsh recently announced that the car will visibly change in the rear area. Lotus also brings a larger expansion stage, which should finally make the black and gold racer the winning car. At Mercedes there are finally a few new parts. Ferrari recently experimented with a new front wing, which has not yet been used in the race.
After the picture in terms of the balance of power remained vague for a long time this season, at least minor trends have recently been recognized. Red Bull and Ferrari scored more points at Valencia and Silverstone than the other ten teams combined. Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel are also the first candidates for the podium in Hockenheim. However, the world champion has never won his home game.
The only car that can currently be dangerous for the Ferraris and Red Bulls is probably the Lotus. However, Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean have always been dependent on the weather in the end. The black and gold car only seems to be able to fight for victories at high temperatures.
The McLaren and the factory Mercedes have recently presented themselves as moody divas. Here the engineers themselves don't seem to have fully understood which conditions are idealfor fast laps. Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn is hoping for an improvement compared to Silverstone: “The layout should suit the F1 W03 better. We're also making some improvements to the car. ”
In the battle for championship points, the two Mercedes teams have to watch out for the strong Sauber. With the updates from Silverstone, the Swiss team has made another leap forward. When the pilots and engineers finally have a flawless weekend, even podium places are possible.
Expert opinion: Giampaolo Dall'Ara (Chief Race Engineer Sauber)
'The last Formula 1 race in Hockenheim took place in 2010, so we will be driving there for the first time with the Pirelli tires and the DRS. The track has a bit of everything, although the high-speed corners don't have the same impact on lap times as they did at Silverstone. The asphalt is quite smooth. Pirelli provides the soft and medium tire compounds, which at first glance seem rather conservative. But of course the temperatures in Hockenheim in July can be high and it remains to be seen how that would affect the tires. '
The last race in Hockenheim - GP Germany 2010
At the last Formula 1 performance in Hockenheim in 2010, the German fans could only cheer in qualifying. However, Sebastian Vettel did not enjoy his pole position for long: At the start, the Heppenheimer lost two places against the two Ferraris, who were to win the race afterwards. The fact that the team management had sent Fernando Alonso past Felipe Massa with a pit order was acknowledged by the fans with a whistle at the award ceremony.
You can see what else was going on in Hockenheim in 2010 in our picture gallery.