Lotterer wants increased Super Formula tyre degradation
Super Formula points leader Andre Lotterer says he would be in favour of increasing tyre degradation in the Japanese series.
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The German, who dovetails his Super Formula commitments with his Porsche LMP1 drive in the FIA World Endurance Championship, vaulted to the top of the standings at Okayama, where he took victory in the opening race.
He followed that up with third place in the second race, a result that puts him one point clear of TOM’S teammate Kazuki Nakajima in the title chase.
Lotterer was among a group of drivers to make a very early pitstop in that race, although Yuki Sekiguchi was able to win by pitting at the end of the very first lap, undercutting Lotterer.
Despite being on much older rubber towards the end of the race, Lotterer was able to resist the advances of Felix Rosenqvist, who had pitted much later, to seal the final spot on the podium.
McLaren F1 driver Stoffel Vandoorne noted last year that Super Formula races tended not to be "exciting" due to a lack of degradation with the Yokohama rubber, and Lotterer believes the low-wear philosophy has come at the expense of interesting strategies.
“I think the tyre degradation is very little,” said Lotterer. “We can do the whole race with one set and still defend without too much problem to guys that have new tyres behind.
“That was my case [defending against Rosenqvist]. It’s not much drop. That’s why we take the gamble of pitting early and try to have a clear track and not worry too much about tyre wear.
“I guess for the racing it’s not ideal because you want to have more or quite a lot more degradation to make things a little exciting and a bit more strategic.
“Because like this [with little degradation], it makes the strategy quite clear. Let’s say you don’t have much penalty, you don’t have much compromise.”
Lotterer also revealed he was fighting brake issues during the second Okayama race, although he was still able to keep Rosenqvist at bay despite a caution period late on.
“During the race I struggled a lot with my brakes,” he explained. “For some reason I didn’t have the usual bite. So I was really struggling to stop the car, and get good corners.
“In the end it got exciting again with the safety car, obviously with old tyres and Felix was behind me with new tyres. I have to go home happy with P3.”
Additional reporting by Tomohiro Yoshita
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