Nürburgring: What You Need to Know

Fact File: Nürburgring, Germany

Laps 60
Lap Length 5.148 km (3.199 miles)
Race Length 308.863 km (191.91 miles)
First Race 1984
Fastest Lap M Schumacher 1:29.468 (Ferrari, 2004)
2009 Winner Mark Webber (Red Bull)

Let’s get this straight, this is not the monster 14-mile rollercoaster ride that held this race until 1976, this is a much shorter circuit and shares the German GP hosting duty with Hockenheim. The 2010 race saw team orders given between the Ferrari drivers, Felipe Massa’s race engineer Rob Smedley delivered the now infamous line ‘Fernando is faster than you’. The last time we raced here Mark Webber took the first win of his career in stunning style and celebrated with the raw emotion we now expect from him, there is no doubt he’ll be expecting a repeat performance to grab his first win of this season.

Layout and Approach:

This version of the Nürburgring is a high downforce track that has challenging corner combinations, and as can be seen with the lap below it also features gradient changes. Drivers will also have to tackle off-camber turns and take on the kerbs to keep their speed, these elements mean that set up for the race can be difficult. With cars running at a high level of downforce aerodynamic efficiency is of high priority, but set up will be focusing on the slow and medium pace corners. Good brake balance is necessary for the heavy braking into the first turn, and to negotiate the slower chicane sections.

Launching off the start/finish line the drivers will hit around 300 km/h before getting on the brakes hard to negotiate the right handed hairpin before entering the Mercedes Arena. This is made up of a 180º left turn and a 90º right turn which then leads into the straight. At the end of this is a fast left corner which feeds into the bumpy right handed Ford Kurve. Heading downhill they soon meet the second right handed hairpin of the circuit, a good line here is necessary to ensure a good exit to get on the throttle early. Now returning back uphill they head into the Michael Schumacher left-right chicane, then followed by a 90º left turn and a similar right turn. The DRS enabling back straight follows punctuated with a small right kink, next up however is one of the prime overtaking spots. The Veedol chicane is a quick left-right where taking the kerbs allows you to keep the speed gained via the back straight. Sweeping around the last corner, a 120 km/h right hander, the drivers are brought around to the start/finish straight and off they go again.

Overtaking and Strategy:

Overtaking here isn’t offered on a plate but there are opportunities to be had if chance are taken in the right places. The first corner is a popular place to get the jump on the driver in front, getting a good line around this hairpin can prove fruitful. Another option is the final chicane (turns 13/14), this year benefitting from the DRS zone.

Located in the Eifel mountain region the weather is a big concern for the weekend, even during the summer months the threat of precipitation is never too far away. This of course, like at all other wet races, opens up the field to a few surprises. Even now rumours are afoot that we could be heading towards a safety car start, teams that are already pitching up are tweeting photos of a paddock under a deluge of rain. The forecast for the weekend does indeed point at a wet weekend, with showers expected on Friday, Saturday and Sunday we might see the brave rather than fast on the podium.

Tyres:

Prime compound: Medium (white)

Option compound: Soft (yellow)

DRS:

The Nürburgring will have a single DRS zone, following on from the switch back at Silverstone. The detection zone, where the driver has to be within 1 second of the driver in front, is 45 metres before turn 10. The activation zone where they can deploy the boost is 62 metres after turn 11, down the back straight.

Why the Nürburgring Rocks:

It has similarities to Silverstone in that its name conjures up a plethora of images and memories. Sir Jackie Stewart dubbed the track’s namesake ‘The Green Hell’ thanks to the close proximity of the forests to the circuit. Trees are still a prominent feature, they just aren’t lining the asphalt, and thus those in the grandstands are privy to a good view of the action. More similarities to it’s British counterpart is the reaction of the spectators lining the track, and the passion translates well and atmosphere isn’t in short demand. Some drivers have even commented on hearing music from fan parties in the hotel, and with 5 drivers and 1 team at home this weekend, it’s hard to imagine the weather subduing the crowds.

5 Key Points:

  • Changeable weather
  • Home race for Mercedes, Vettel, Schumacher, Glock, Heidfeld, Rosberg
  • Crazy fans
  • Could be the last race here
  • Slow/medium pace corners could help teams catch Red Bull
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Comments
One Response to “Nürburgring: What You Need to Know”
  1. It may not be the famous Nordschleife but its an amazing venue compared to most modern tracks. I think it was Hermann Tilke first effort designing race circuits?

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