11 May 2012
Spanish GP – Friday press conference – Pt.1
Present: Pierre Wache (Sauber), Paui Hembery (Pirelli), Mark Smith (Caterham), Giorgio Ascanelli (Toro Rosso), Adrian Newey (Red Bull), Sam Michael (McLaren).
Pierre, welcome, you're Head of Vehicle Performance at Sauber. First of all, give us some indication of Mugello testing. Were your findings confirmed here? Were you satisfied with the test?
Thank you for the welcome. We evaluated a new package and we were happy to do this test for sure in the middle of the season to evaluate the new aero package. We did it again today and confirmed what we found in Mugello.
Your drivers have seemed easier on the tyres in the first couple of grands prix this year. How did they extract that performance in the first couple of races but not in the next couple?
All the races are different, all the layouts are different and the last circuit maybe suited our car less than the other ones.
That's the only reason?
I think so, yes.
And when it comes to this race?
I hope it will be OK. We will see tomorrow.
It's an interesting new partnership with Chelsea Football Club. Does that include more resources. It there a possibility for expansion in terms of resources?
I don't know. I'm not really the right person to give this answer. I think you will have to ask Peter Sauber for that.
Paul, a different range of tyres this year in terms of specification. How much has the game changed this year in terms of that specification change?
Predominantly the compound choices have been a little bit more aggressive. If I take the scaling, the Supersoft tyre stays the same, the Soft tyre this year is derived from the Supersoft, and the Medium tyre this year is actually a close relation in terms of compounding to the Soft tyre of last year. So, there are some similarities to last year but the Hard tyre in particular is very much different. If we think about last year when we were here, the harder tyre in particular created quite a few struggles for the teams to get working. There were probably only two drivers in that race that got it working. So, yes there have been some changes.
We've heard a lot about tyre temperature recently – degradation, wear etc. Can you just explain to us, because I think the media need an explanation, about what the difference is and how they affect the cars?
Degradation is a thermal performance loss – that's from the tyres overheating essentially, taken to extremes in terms of lap time. Wear is the physical wear of the tyre which is probably easier for people to understand. The two are linked, though not necessarily in a parallel manner, but they are linked. The temperature, well, working range is something people hear a lot about. Last year we were finding that the Soft tyre, if we take that as a good example, had a working range from 20 degrees all the way through to the late 30s. This season we've seen that when the temperature dropped dramatically in Shanghai that caused quite a dramatic change in tyre performance when it went below 20 degrees. So there's probably some sensitivity there, and depending on the cars we were looking at we could see that the actual temperature of the tyres was less, so we have to imagine there's less energy going into the tyre. At the other end because we've taken a more aggressive approach to compounding you'll find that when it gets to the other extremes of temperature, with abrasion or certainly wheel spin then we will go into an overheating mode. We've closed down the range of compounds and the cars have obviously changed as well, and you put that combination together and you have a start to the season pretty much as we saw last year – some question marks that tend to get ironed out as the season goes on and the teams get to understand better the cars, the tyres how to get the best out of them all. I think you'll see over the next few races that that will be the case.
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