The German Grand Prix has gone through a lot of turmoil in recent years. It had been alternating between Hockenheim and the famous Nurburgring, but financial problems for the latter meant that every other year the German Grand Prix dropped off the calendar.
That was hardly ideal for a sport whose most successful driver is German and whose dominant team right now are German. Eventually, a solution was found to keep the German Grand Prix on the calendar until 2020, when it will again disappear.
What used to be a massive plunge into the forest has been shortened and tamed somewhat, with the famous stadium section and turn 1 all that remains from the old circuit.
The new loop, introduced in 2002, does provide some excellent overtaking points, but also adds to the challenge of setting up this car correctly for a very diverse circuit.
The long back straight of Hockenheim would suggest you want low aero, but with the tricky final stadium section as well as some prolonged corners you do need aerodynamic performance.
We have gone with a 4-5 setting that gives you enough front grip to turn in and enough rear stability to cope with the long double-apex last corner. This is something of a compromise, but it gives you the straight-line speed to attack into the hairpin and allows you to carry enough speed through the final sector too.
While this circuit wears the front-left fastest it can also be very hard on the rear tyres thanks to several high traction zones. Having worn rears will especially hurt you coming out of the hairpin and leave you vulnerable to being overtaken.
To help protect them we are leaving the on-throttle differential at 75% and slightly unlocking the off-throttle to 70%. This will help keep enough life in the rear tyres through a stint without crushing your pace.
This is always a tricky part of the setup, but thankfully the mixed nature of Hockenheim means the usual plan of max camber, minimum toe will work. The only correction we need to make for the race is just to bring them toward the middle a little to help protect the tyres, especially the front-left which will melt during a race if you leave the sliders in full max, min mode.
We have gone with a -2.70, -1.20 camber and a 0.07, 0.26 toe which keeps the car fast in a straight line and grippy in prolonged cornering.
The suspension settings for Hockenheim are relatively simple. It is a flat circuit where very little kerb-riding is needed.
The F1 2019 handling model really favours soft suspension as it helps weight to transfer rearward under acceleration, aiding traction. We have gone with a 2-2 setting for the suspension here.
The anti-roll bars set the lateral stiffness of the car. Stiffer anti-roll bars make for a more responsive car when changing direction but really hurt tyres in prolonged corners. There aren't many quick chicanes here but there are several long right-handers, so we are using a 6-3 setting to keep the front relatively pointy while not hurting the tyres and protecting the rears a bit more.
Ride height is set to 3-3 which will keep the car slippery down the straight and negate some of that wing angle when we put our foot down on the back straight.
Stopping into the hairpin is crucial to making a pass or holding position, so brake pressure needs to be as high as possible without you locking up. If you use the ABS assist that isn't something you need to worry about. We have used an 87% setting here.
The brake bias has been set to 53% to help keep the front responsive during braking and also help reduce the chance of locking the fronts.
The tyre pressures have been set to 23.8 psi and 21.9 psi as this massively reducing rolling resistance and helps straight-line speed. It also helps keep the car super responsive through the final sector but will increase wear, so if you find your tyres do overheat too quickly then reduce the pressures.
So that's our setup for the Germany Grand Prix. This track can produce excellent racing as well as varied strategies so using a setup that plays to your strengths and keeps strategy options open is crucial to success.