Williams' drivers Maldonado and Bottas ready for Korea challenge

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First time for Bottas at the Korean International Circuit

Xevi Pujolar, Chief Race Engineer: The Korea International Circuit is a challenging track, with Sector 1 being mainly straights and Sectors 2 and 3 being combinations of medium speed corner sequences and some fast sweeping bends. The track is relatively easy on tyres, often aided by low track temperatures, a low circuit roughness and a forwards energy balance. This coupled with an average fuel consumption, albeit higher than normal fuel effect, and an above average pit loss time typically favours a two-stop strategy. This year Pirelli have gone one step harder on the prime compound, electing to bring the medium compound alongside the supersoft. The first Korean Grand Prix was heavily affected by rain but despite Korea's location and therefore high probability for typhoons and tropical storms, it is not forecast to rain this year.

Pastor Maldonado, Williams FW35
Pastor Maldonado, Williams FW35

Photo by: XPB Images

Pastor Maldonado: Korea is a medium to high speed circuit and has a good combination of corners with the last sector being a good technical challenge with corners that flow well. As the track is still quite new it can be quite green at the beginning of the week with low grip, but it then tends to rubber in and evolve a lot as the weekend progresses so we will be trying to make sure that the car can adapt to the changing grip levels. I was close to finishing in the points in Singapore and we will be looking to learn from that race and make the adjustments needed to challenge for a top ten finish.

Valtteri Bottas: Whilst this will be my first race at the Korea International Circuit, I drove the track in FP1 last year so I have experience to draw upon that will prove useful. It's a high downforce circuit that tests the cars overall performance as it has a mixture of high speed corners at the beginning with lower speed technical sections towards the end. We struggled with the pace of the car in Singapore but we are bringing some upgrades to this race and hopefully these new parts will result in improved performance for us this weekend.

Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 Head of Track Operations: Korea poses a tricky mix of long straights that are relatively undemanding on engines and drivers, but a twisty third sector that requires the set-up to be completely on point. Good driveability is essential through the medium to low speed corners, however this stop-start nature does drastically increase fuel consumption over one lap. We still need to provide a good top end power for the long straights in the first part of the lap so engine engineers work on providing acceleration through correct gear ratios, particularly in seventh.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: We're bringing the P Zero White medium and P Zero Red supersoft to Korea this year: a change from last season when we brought the soft and supersoft. So we'd expect there to be a significant lap time gap between the two compounds we have selected this year, as there was at Singapore where the same nomination was used, and that should help the teams put together some interesting strategies to improve track position. There are some fast corners in Korea as well as other more technical sections, which means that it has the highest lateral energy loading of all the circuits where the supersoft tyre is used, so tyre management will again be important. We'd expect a high degree of track evolution over the course of the weekend and there is always the possibility of rain too.

Williams F1 Team

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About this article
Series F1
Article type Previews
Tags bottas, f1, hembery, korea, maldonado, pirelli, pujola, reanault, taffin, williams

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