German GP: Williams technical preview

Talking technical Car dynamics Average turn angle indicates the average angle of a circuit's corners expressed in degrees. The higher the average turn angle, the more acute the corners in the circuit's configuration and the greater propensity...

Talking technical

Car dynamics

Average turn angle indicates the average angle of a circuit's corners expressed in degrees. The higher the average turn angle, the more acute the corners in the circuit's configuration and the greater propensity for understeer to compromise lap time. Average turn angle at the Nurburgring is 1220 which is significantly higher than the average for the Championship. The circuit therefore has more effect on understeer than the majority of circuits on the calendar.

The end of straight (EOS) speed at the Nurburgring was 303kp/h in 2007. The German track ranks as having the 6th lowest EOS speed on the 2009 calendar, and this is one indicator of the wing level typically selected to optimise the downforce/drag ratio. Meanwhile, the Nurburgring has the 5th lowest average lap speed of any of the tracks on the calendar.

Pitlane & refuelling strategy

The pitlane length and profile contribute to the determination of the optimum fuel strategy. The pitlane loss at the Nurburgring is approximately 20.6 seconds, the 8th most penalising pitlane in the Championship. To complete a normalised distance of 5km around the Nurburgring requires 2.43kg of fuel against an average of 2.42kg per 5km across all circuits this season, ranking the circuit as average in terms of fuel consumption.

Safety car

Another key contributor to the determination of race strategy is the likelihood of safety car deployments, which are influenced by weather considerations, the availability of clear run-off areas that allow racing to continue while recovery takes place and the circuit profile, especially the character of the entry and exit into turn one at the start of the race. There have been 3 safety car deployments in the last 12 races at the Nurburgring, making it relatively unlikely that there will be a safety car period, although the weather in the Eifel region is notoriously unpredictable so a safety car period can never be ruled out.

Temperature, pressure & humidity

As an example, it is a long observed tradition that drivers arriving at Interlagos complain about a lack of grip and an absence of engine power. Having become acquainted with a baseline of engine and aerodynamic performance during the season, the climb to 750 metres above sea level for one of the final races can, courtesy of the reduction in air density, rob a Formula One car of engine power, aerodynamic performance and cooling. The losses can come close to double digit percentages and thus have a very real impact on car performance. Air density is a factor of the prevailing ambient temperature, which varies most significantly by season, air pressure which is closely linked to altitude and, to a much smaller degree, by humidity. Thus if races are run at the same time each year, the factor that tends to have the greatest bearing on air density is elevation. The Nurburgring is 618m above sea level and has the 2nd lowest average pressure (946.50mbar) of any race venue in the 2009 Championship. As a consequence, the circuit's ambient characteristics will result in a significant reduction in engine power.

-credit: williams

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Series Formula 1
Teams Williams