Eifel GP 2020 - GP preview - Ferrari
Formula 1 returns to the Nürburgring after an absence of seven years as part of this unusual 2020 calendar. The Eifel Grand Prix is the eleventh round of the season, named after the mountainous region between Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia, close to the Belgium-Luxembourg border. The Eifel is home to the track which hosted the German GP up to 1976 on the long version of the circuit. At almost 23 kilometres long, the hellish Nordschleife was abandoned after Niki Lauda’s accident on 1 August 1976 on lap 2 when his Ferrari 312 T2 hit an earth bank after Bergwerk corner. The Austrian was trapped in his car that then caught fire. The Austrian was saved by the prompt intervention of fellow drivers Guy Edwards, Harald Ertl, Brett Lunger and Arturo Merzario who braved the flames to pull the driver out of the cockpit and drag him to safety.
GP-Strecke. Racing returned to the Nürburgring in 1984, but at the new track known as GP-Strecke. It is definitely less spectacular than its predecessor and today it is 5.148 km long. It is popular with the drivers and has produced some very exciting racing. Scuderia Ferrari has won here six times, to add to the eight wins on the long track. The current layout features several medium speed turns and long straights which is why the aero level tends to be medium. The track rises and falls in several places, following the undulations of the Eifel region. For example, the first braking point is downhill with a very tight and difficult corner. The track continues downhill to turn 8 when it begins to climb back up, culminating at turn 12. From here it is downhill again for a long semicircular section where it is possible to use the DRS. It then climbs to a chicane before the final corner which has often seen some spectacular passing moves, with the other DRS zone being down the start-finish straight.
Temperature. Formula 1 has only raced at the Nürburgring in October twice before, in 1984 and 1995 and it is expected to be quite cold, with changeable conditions, an additional difficulty facing the teams and drivers as they strive to get the tyres and all the car systems to work at their best.
“We are returning to the Nürburgring which is an unexpected pleasure given that this race was not on the original calendar. Obviously, I’m very happy to be able to race in Germany in front of my home crowd. I have great memories of the last time we raced here in 2013 and apart from that, it’s an interesting track with a lot of low and medium speed corners, which put a premium on good traction. Coming to the Eifel region in October, we can expect it to be pretty cold, so getting the tyres to work will be vitally important. I expect that, as usual this season, we will be fighting in the mid-field where every hundredth of a second can make a difference. We will have to take care of every little detail.”
“At the start of the season, I would never have expected to be racing again at the Nürburgring. I have not driven a Formula 1 car there, so I’m keen to get out on track and see what its corners are like with the level of downforce these cars have. One important consideration will be the weather. I remember from previous races there that the clouds are never far away in the Eifel region. Conditions can change from one moment to the next and doing a good job of managing the tyres will also be a key factor. Let’s see what we can make of it.”
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