OCTOBER 18, 2010

Teams gear up for Korea

Formula 1 teams have spent the last month running virtual simulation programmes ahead of the inaugural Korean Grand Prix at the Yeongam circuit this coming weekend.

Renault's engineering chief Alan Permane says: "The projected lap time is 1m44s and the cars will be on full throttle for 55% of the lap and on the brakes for 20%. The average speed will be 120 mph, with a top speed of 195mph on the 1.15 km straight between Turns 2 and 3. Turn 8 is probably the quickest of the lap with an apex speed of 145mph, while Turn 3 is the slowest corner, expected to be taken at just 40mph."

The simulations mean that the approach to free practice will not be hugely different from normal although drivers may complete more acclimatisation laps. Determining the correct gear ratios, especially for second, third and fourth gears, will also be significant.

"Although the ratios for the first session of free practice have already been selected," Permane explains, "it will make for a busy lunch hour in the garage if changes are needed for FP2. In terms of the aero set-up, it won't be far off the settings used at Suzuka: the downforce needed will be on the high side and we plan to run with the same wing package we used in Suzuka. There are a couple of high-speed corners, such as turns seven and eight, which remind me of turns five and six at Sepang. They involve a quick change of direction and we expect T7 will be flat, while T8 turn will be almost flat.

"It will also be important to maximise the f-duct for the long straights because there are a couple of good overtaking opportunities into Turn 1 and Turn 3. Another significant characteristic is the number of low-speed, technical corners, such as the sequence from T4-T6 and T15/16 towards the end of the lap. For these corners you need a nimble car with good turn-in and traction. It's important the car works well in these corners because it's where the most significant lap time gains can be found."