US GP: Sauber preview

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway with its American dimensions, banked turns and the famous brick line clearly differentiate itself from other circuits. Combined with all the festivities around it this Grand Prix will become an unforgettable event...

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway with its American dimensions, banked turns and the famous brick line clearly differentiate itself from other circuits. Combined with all the festivities around it this Grand Prix will become an unforgettable event once again.

Willy Rampf (Technical Director):

"Indianapolis Motor Speedway has two main characteristics that make it a medium to low downforce circuit: the banked final corner that combines with the main straight to make the longest high-speed run in Formula One, and the tight infield section. Ideally you need low downforce for the former, but plenty of grip in the latter, and these are mutually exclusive."

"The compromise on downforce you choose thus has a critical effect on the car's performance over the course of the lap, and this year that will be even more important because of the rule that you have to race in the same trim that you qualify. I think most teams will opt for low downforce because it is always very difficult to make up any places that you lose on top speed down the straight once you get to the twisting part of the circuit."

"In qualifying I think everyone is going to be right on the edge. The tight right, left, right first corner also demands very good stability under braking if the drivers are to have a chance of overtaking there. There are plenty of different lines that you can take there, so it's a prime passing opportunity.

"Like Monza, the track places a high premium on engine performance and reliability, but the C spec Petronas V10 went well in Italy and we are also optimistic that our latest aerodynamic configuration will prove competitive in America."

Nick Heidfeld (64 GPs, 2 points 2003):

"Indy has good memories for me. One of the best Formula One races I ever drove was there in 2001 when I lost first, second and seventh gears but still finished in the points in the C20."

"From a set-up point of view Indianapolis is a tricky circuit. If you lean off the wing it then makes the infield challenging because that's so tight and demands plenty of downforce. You can lose 20 kph on the straight depending on what wing settings you use, so you can see why the way you set the car up is so important."

"A thrilling thing is that you see all the spectators in those huge grandstands down the main straight. You just don't see things on that scale in Europe. The C22 has been getting better with all the modifications the team has been introducing, so I am hoping for a good race."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen (155 GPs, 7 points 2003):

"Indianapolis is a special circuit, with a great atmosphere. The circuit has the longest straight that we have in Formula One, and it's great that part of it, albeit in the opposite direction, comprises the famous oval circuit. It's that, and the combination of the tight infield section, that gives it its unique character. A combination of high speed and history, mixed with all the pizzazz of Formula One."

"I have some good memories of the place. In 2000 I had a wonderful dice with Jacques Villeneuve to keep him behind to the flag and finish on the podium, but off the track the city has some great attractions too. I particularly remember a fun trip we had to the zoo last year."

-sauber-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Jacques Villeneuve , Nick Heidfeld
Teams Sauber