Race starts at 2:10 pm in Germany/8:10 pm in Malaysia
Round 11 of the 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship sees yet another different name for the event that will run at Germany’s Nurburgring circuit. It’s called the Eifel Grand Prix this time, which makes it the fourth name, having previously hosted the German, European and Luxembourg Grands Prix. The circuit has not had a F1 race since the German Grand Prix of 2013.
The ‘Eifel’ name refers to the mountains in the region (nothing to do with the Eiffel Tower in Paris) and in the 1930s when there was a race of that name, it saw the birth of the Silver Arrows legend. On June 3 1934, the newly developed Mercedes-Benz W25 won the Eifelrennen with an average speed of 122.5 km/h. Legend has it that the W25 was slightly above the weight limit for the 750-kg Formula in which it competed. And (allegedly) its white paint was scraped off before the race to meet the regulatory limits, exposing its shiny bodywork – hence the first Silver Arrow was born.
The layout of the Nurburgring’s GP Circuit draws some comparisons with Silverstone in that it features a technical, low-speed opening sector followed by faster corners later in the lap. It presents a good all-round test of a car’s performance because it includes a wide range of corner speed and profiles – from high-speed turns, to slow-speed hairpins and twisty chicanes.
While lacking the extreme high-speed turns of the British circuit, it is expected to demand similarly high levels of downforce. This means that the maximum speed anticipated for the W11 (316 km/h) is expected to be the lowest figure of this season.
The circuit’s undulations are one of its most striking features, with a large amount of elevation change. In fact, the difference between the highest point (the start/finish straight) and the lowest point at Turn 7 is around 55 metres.
One of the biggest unknowns for all of the teams this weekend is the track surface and how it has evolved over time. Getting the tyres to work and understanding the operating window will be crucial to unlocking performance out on track.
The tyres Pirelli will supply
Pirelli brings tyres from the middle of the range this weekend with a C2 Hard tyre, C3 Medium tyre and C4 Soft tyre provided. The circuit is not noted as being particularly tough on the rubber but the Italian manufacturer cites the heavy deceleration into the hairpin and its unusual camber as factors likely to push the front left tyre very hard.
While the GP Circuit made its F1 debut in an October race, it is unusual to be racing this far north, this late in the season. The reason is, of course, due to the suspension of activities in the first half of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a rescheduling of the rounds from July.
The forecast for the weekend indicates the potential for temperatures in single figures alongside the usual Eifel showers. It is something the teams will watch closely as it will present its own unique set of challenges for the tyres.
Victory and fastest lap for Valtteri Bottas in Russia last time out saw the Finn close the gap on his team-mate Lewis Hamilton at the top of the Drivers’ Championship table. Hamilton continues to lead with 205 points to Bottas’ 161. The tightest battle among the drivers is currently over fourth position, between Lando Norris, Alex Albon and Daniel Ricciardo.
Victory and third place in Sochi extended the Mercedes-AMG advantage in the Constructors’ Championship to 174 points. They now lead Red Bull Racing 366 to 192. Behind Red Bull, the battle for third has become intense after a poor showing in Sochi dragged McLaren back towards their rivals. With 106 points, they are two ahead of Racing Point, on 104, and seven ahead of Renault on 99.