Indian Grand Prix Preview – AT&T Williams
When: Friday 28 to Sunday 30 October, 2011
Where: Buddh International Circuit, India
Round: 17 of 19
The teams have received basic data about the 5.137km Buddh International Race Circuit, such as the corner radii and the length of the straights, but we’ll have to wait until we get there to get a clear picture of the venue, located just south of India’s capital city New Delhi.
The organisers and track designer Hermann Tilke have been diligent in their approach to the layout, even running ideas pass the teams to ensure the best possible outcome. More than four million cubic tonnes of soil have been moved to create undulations; the track rises 14 metres between Turns 1 and 3 alone, so the drivers are set for a rollercoaster ride.
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: The whole team is looking forward to heading out to the Buddh International Circuit for the first time this week. The simulations of the new track indicate a high downforce and medium braking severity track, which should also be reasonably hard on the tyres. Despite our preparations there are still a few uncertainties, such as what the actual tyre grip will be and how the track will evolve throughout the weekend. We should see over a one second lap time delta between the two tyre choices for this race, namely the soft and hard tyres, with the soft being quicker. We are also expecting dry weather throughout the weekend, with ambient temperatures in the mid-20˚Cs to low 30˚Cs and track temperatures up in the low 40˚Cs.
Rubens Barrichello: I have never been to India and as the circuit is new I have been preparing by playing my home simulator to get to know the track. I am very much looking forward to this race as it will be different to other weekends in terms of culture. I have always wanted to go to India, so this is a great opportunity for me to get to know the country as well as do what I love at the same time: drive a Formula One car.
Pastor Maldonado: I think India will be really interesting for everyone. I haven’t been before so I can’t wait to get there. Going somewhere new and experiencing new things is always exciting. That’s one of the great benefits of Formula One – it takes you to places you may never have visited before! The circuit itself looks good and it will be new for all the drivers. For once we will all be starting from scratch! I was at the factory last week working with my engineers in the simulator so I feel as ready as I can be.
From Cosworth’s perspective: As with any new circuit, Friday’s practice sessions will carry more importance as teams work on car set-up and drivers acquaint themselves with new surroundings. It is important that teams can rely on a trouble-free session with consistent and reliable performance from the engine in order to undertake meaningful comparison work. From an engine perspective, the circuit will present a challenge in terms of balancing top end speed for the relatively long straight with driveability and torque through the lower speed corners in the middle sector of the lap. The inaugural Indian Grand Prix holds particular importance for Cosworth since the company has an Indian facility in Pune.
From Pirelli’s perspective: India is a brand new adventure for us, so we’ve selected the P Zero Yellow soft tyre and the P Zero Silver hard tyre to be sure of covering every possibility. We’ve allocated an extra set of the soft tyre for practice on Friday, in order to give all the teams the chance to complete as much running as they can and collect valuable data. We’ve also named the softer tyre as the prime and the harder tyre as the option in India, which we think will encourage drivers to base their race strategy on the softer tyres – but we will have to wait and see how the track evolves.