US GP: Sauber preview

After scoring five points in the eighth round of the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship in Montreal and the further consolidation of its fifth place in the Constructors' World Championhsip, Sauber Petronas moves immediately across north...

After scoring five points in the eighth round of the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship in Montreal and the further consolidation of its fifth place in the Constructors' World Championhsip, Sauber Petronas moves immediately across north America to Indianapolis, for the US Grand Prix on 20 June.

Willy Rampf (Technical Director):

"Like Montreal, Indianapolis is a medium downforce circuit where we have the second highest top speeds of the season. Because of the banked final corner that combines with the main straight and the tight infield section, the track has different characteristics. Ideally you need low downforce for the former, but plenty of grip in the latter, and these are mutually exclusive. We will run a similar aerodynamic package to Canada as a result."

"The circuit has the longest straight of the season, which runs effectively from Turn 12 all the way through Turn 1 from the oval down to Turn 1 of the Formula One Grand Prix track. The banked turn is not a corner in an F1 car, but flat out. Drivers are flat-out for around 23s, the longest full-throttle run of the year. Turn 1 at the end of this straight provides a good opportunity for overtaking as there are a number of possible lines."

"Brake wear and performance are not critical here, however, as the brakes have more time to cool than they do in Montreal. Indianapolis is harder on engines than on any other part of the car. The surface allows us to run softer compound tyres, but the longitudinal grooves on the oval part of the circuit can exacerbate tyre wear."

Giancarlo Fisichella (131 GPs, 10 points 2004):

"It was very satisfying to score five valuable points in Montreal and hence to join the '100 club'. We continued to make progress on the car and our strategy once again paid off. At Indianapolis I have been unlucky in the past, but the circuit is okay and the race is a biog story in America."

"The track isn't so great on the infield, where the car is loose because we run such low downforce. But when we go through the Parabolica, that is when we really feel like we are racing at Indy! The first corner is a bit difficult, because you approach at top speed and have to slow down a lot for the first corner and the chicane that follows. If you brake a little bit too late you can be in trouble, which keeps you on your toes."

Felipe Massa (24 GPs, 5 points 2004):

"The medical checks in the hospital after my accident in the closing stages of the Canadian Grand Prix have proven that I was lucky enough to escape from it without injuries. I'm okay and ready to race next weekend. I didn't get to Indianapolis in 2002 so this will be my first visit. I have talked the layout over with the team, of course, and I am familiar with it from television footage. The best way to learn a circuit, for me, is to go round it on a scooter, but in any case I learn them pretty quickly and it should only take me half a dozen laps to familiarise myself."

-sauber-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Felipe Massa
Teams Sauber