Bridgestone GP2 Series: Q&A with Andy Soucek
With the Bridgestone-backed GP2 Series heading to Valencia this weekend (29-30 September), for the final round of the season, DPR driver Andy Soucek provides a preview to his home event. Finishing second in the sprint race at the previous round in Belgium, Soucek had his first ever podium in GP2.
Q. How many times have you raced at Valencia, and is it one of your favourite circuits?
A. I know the track very well and I have raced there many times. I am Spanish so it is a home track for me and I like it very much. Valencia is a bit like a go-kart track, the same as Monaco and Budapest, where times are really close, so I think it is going to be a very exciting end of season.
Q. Can you describe the main characteristics of the Valencia circuit?
A. The first thing is that it is anti-clockwise so the first corner turns left instead of turning right like on most circuits. So, for your neck it is a bit more difficult than other tracks because you are not used to the left corner so much. One of the most important corners is the first one, it's a very quick left hand corner in fifth gear where you have to really ride the apex otherwise you can lose control of the car. It is very important to be very concentrated in Valencia, there are lots of corners and there is no break to relax. There are no big straights; the longest one is the first one and you reach nearly 290 km/h here, so it is still high speed.
Q. The fact that it's anti-clockwise: how does this affect the car set-up for Valencia?
A. Because of the first corner, I think you can run a little bit more off camber, for example, on the rear right. I don't believe it is going to change too much the set-up of every car. It is more about the corners, the grip of the track and the temperature. I think the most important thing is the tyres: everybody really has to get the right pressures in Valencia to be able to maintain the rhythm throughout the whole race. I think you will see cars running with quite high downforce, for the first corner, not to get so much understeer or oversteer, so you have to get a well balanced car.
Q. GP2 will be on the medium compound Bridgestone tyres, how do you think they will perform there?
A. It depends on the temperature but I don't expect the weather to be very hot in Valencia and this should help the tyres. We don't have any Formula One cars running, so there will not be as much rubber put down on the track, which will mean less grip.
Q. What parts of the circuit are best for overtaking?
A. I think if you want to overtake in the first corner the other guy has to make a mistake, it's the only way. It's true, there are not a lot of places to overtake in Valencia. If you start on pole there you have more possibilities to win the race than usual.