Williams team preview the German Grand Prix, Round 9 of the 2013 Formula 1 World Championship, at Nurburgring.
Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: Nürburgring is quite a technical track with lots of challenging corner sequences and camber changes. There can also be variable weather which adds another element into the mix, although we don’t see many safety cars, with only two being deployed in the last ten races. It is a slower speed circuit with a below average top speed and the average corner speed is similar to what we see in Barcelona. The circuit is about 600 metres above sea level so engine power is low and downforce is reduced. We’ll reach our 600th race as a team at the German Grand Prix and we will be looking to mark this milestone with a strong finish this weekend.
Pastor Maldonado: Although the Nürburgring layout has changed recently and lost some of its old character, it’s still a pretty fast and flowing track which I tend to like and offers some good overtaking opportunities. It’s one of the most technical circuits on the calendar and we have been working hard to improve our cars balance in slow, technical corners. Tyre degradation is likely to be high as well, but in the last couple of races we have shown that we can control this quite well so that should give us a boost. The weather is often cold and can change throughout the weekend which is a challenge for all teams, but variable conditions would suit us. I just missed out on a points finish at Silverstone and will be looking to go a step better in this race.
Valtteri Bottas: The Nürburgring is a very challenging track as it has a broad mixture of corners which makes car set-up difficult. I really like the hi-speed sections in particular, especially the fast left and right corners leading to the back straight. The weather is often changeable so we will be preparing for the possibility of a wet weekend. I’ve always enjoyed driving in tricky conditions though and our car is currently performing better in the wet/damp conditions so I will be hoping that we do see some showers. With tyre management being so important, and teams not having raced here last season, we will be trying to get as much data from the practice sessions as possible to make sure that we are racing on Sunday with the optimum strategy. The team will be continuing our 600th race celebrations in Germany and we will be looking to score some points to give the people back at the factory an extra boost.
Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 Head of Track Operations: The Nürburgring is a medium speed track with an average of around 190 km/h. The four long straights are balanced out by a mix of low speed corners, such as turns 1 and 7 where the cars will run between 75 and 95 km/h. As a result the engine has to be driveable through the lower revs but also offer responsiveness and top end power. In particular Renault Sport F1 will work carefully on the selection of the top gear ratios since seventh gear will be engaged four times a lap, a higher than average usage. The high altitude of the track means the atmospheric pressure is lower so the demands on the engine are less severe, so we will tend to use an engine on the third race of its life.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: We’re bringing the P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tyres to the Nurburgring, which is a circuit that we’re racing on for the first time since 2011 of course. This is actually the same nomination as we had in 2011, but of course the compounds are now a lot softer and faster, so in theory we should see a quicker race with slightly more pit stops. Germany is the third of a series of races, following Canada and Great Britain, where the weather is traditionally uncertain. So ambient temperature will have a noticeable effect on wear and degradation. However, the Nurburgring is generally a smooth and flowing track where tyre life tends to be quite extensive. We are not expecting a massive performance gap between the two compounds either. From past information, this also seems to be a race where it’s going to be reasonably likely to see the Cinturato Green intermediate and Cinturato Blue full wet in action at some point over the weekend. If this is the case, it will obviously have a profound effect on race strategy. (Williams F1)