Renault's executive director of engineering Pat Symonds looks at Shanghai strategy The teams and drivers have spent two days learning the Chinese circuit, but there are still plenty of questions ahead of tomorrow's race... Q: Pat, Fernando ...
Renault's executive director of engineering Pat Symonds looks at Shanghai strategy
The teams and drivers have spent two days learning the Chinese circuit, but there are still plenty of questions ahead of tomorrow's race...
Q: Pat, Fernando qualified sixth and Jacques will start twelfth: are you pleased with those positions?
PS: Our positions are in the area we had expected. We spent much of the early part of the weekend running the car with plenty of fuel in order to make our tyre choice, and of course Jacques has been learning about the car with every lap. He has integrated well into the team and now really needs to get a race distance under his belt to complete that process before Suzuka. As for Fernando, he has done a very good job this weekend to get on top of some handling problems during practice and he put in a good qualifying performance.
Q: How do you read the grid for tomorrow's race?
PS: Shanghai and Bahrain have both presented us with an unusual challenge this year because without any precedents having been set, it is hard to tell what choices teams have made in terms of strategy. This is a difficult track for the drivers to learn, it is hard to find the right set-up and with all these different factors to take into account, it is tricky to deduce from practice and qualifying times what the stop strategies might be. Indeed, it is possible that many teams remain undecided...
Q: But with the fuel load for the first stint already fixed, how is that possible?
PS: Strangely at this circuit, the difference between the first stop laps for a two or a three-stop strategy is minimal: the window for three stopping opens around lap 9 to lap 13, whereas one could two-stop from anywhere between laps 11 to 15. This means there is a fair overlap between the two options, and only once we have timed the first stops will the picture become clearer.
Three stopping cars will be likely to make their second and third stops in the late 20s to early 30s and early 40s, while two stoppers would probably run to the latter half of the 30s. I think some teams may be undecided and have opted for a fuel load that will allow them to choose either option on their first trip to the pits.