Many would argue that the major facelift in 2002 left the 2.8 mile Hockenheimring a bland expanse of tarmac. The passage through the heart of the Rhine forest may have been re-engineered, but that which remains still demands exacting standards of driving and engineering precision.
Like so many of the tracks on the calendar, the circuit is a conundrum, one at which the drivers and their engineers spend most of the weekend searching for an often elusive set-up which can accommodate the low and medium speed corners as well as the high speed straights. Measuring 1.38km, the sweeping Parabolica is the longest straight of the lap and will see the engines rev at full throttle for 17.1 seconds at speeds of 320kp/h. With the cars running at full throttle for up to 65% of each lap, Hockenheim ranks only second to Monza in the speed stakes and demands engine durability.
Located in the southern part of Germany, ambient temperatures are predictably high and promote track temperatures in excess of 50°C. As a result, the thermal loads placed on the tyres, particularly the rears, will be especially high at this race, while the physical pressures exerted on the drivers are as equally demanding.