James explains how the long-lap Spa-Francorchamps circuit is set to present a good all-round challenge for the R31.
Which areas of the car are crucial for a good performance at Spa-Francorchamps?
In general, the features that make a car quick at one circuit tend to make it quick at all circuits. Those features are good aerodynamic performance, good engine performance, good use of the tyres and fast drivers.
From circuit to circuit the relative contribution of each of these parameters waxes and wanes, but the fundamentals are always the same. For Spa, the features which have somewhat higher prominence than normal are engine power and aerodynamic performance.
What new developments should be in place for Spa?
We will bring a new floor, a reworked exhaust, modifications to the rear brake duct, various detailed changes around the bargeboard region and a different rear suspension arrangement. None of the changes are individually huge, but together they are a fair package.
What was learnt at the Hungaroring?
We discovered, to our cost, the upper limit of the exhaust temperature that our car is capable of withstanding. We have made adjustments to our procedure and our design to avoid a repeat of the failure we saw in Hungary.
How difficult a circuit is Spa to engineer, as the lap is long with many different facets…
It is a long lap, and there is a lot going on, but in truth all the circuits represent a significant engineering challenge. Spa has a long lap, but only has the same number of corners as Monaco - which is one of the shortest circuits. What Spa does offer, however, is a glorious challenge for the drivers, unpredictable weather and an excellent spectacle for the fans.
What's the development strategy for the latter part of the season?
Around this time of year the majority of the team's aerodynamic resources have transferred to the next season's car. We will deliver upgrades to the car for the next three to four races as a result of research performed prior to the summer break, but after that the changes will become more modest.