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James Allison, Lotus Renault GP - Q&A

11 October 2011

Q:
Which aspects of the car are crucial for a good performance at the Korean International Circuit?

James Allison:
The Korean International Circuit is not a track which favours any particular aspect of the car; it's one where the entire package has to be maximised. Whilst there are long straights where a low drag package would be beneficial, there are sufficient corners to require higher levels of downforce for a quick lap. Interestingly, the track surface is very smooth and there are no notable bumps. Ally this with no kerbs of any stature and you can run the car very low. This could play to the strengths of our exhaust package as the potentially more constant proximity between car floor and ground should aid and assist hot air flow management.

Q:
How different is the set-up from Suzuka?

James Allison:
We run a similar level of downforce to that employed in Japan, however there are subtle yet pertinent differences. For example, DRS should be far more effective in Korea thanks to the long straights so we will give this aspect due consideration amidst our musings of wing angles.

Q:
What was learnt at Suzuka?

James Allison:
Early in the weekend at Suzuka our car did not lend itself to long runs on the soft tyre, where we fared even worse than our rivals. This encouraged us along the path of favouring the medium tyre in the race; a strategy contrary to that employed by those around us. The tyre performance in the race diverged slightly from our predictions, with the soft tyre proving to be faster than expected, meaning that its limitations in durability were allayed. This, and the timing of the safety car were not the most helpful of scenarios for our task, but nevertheless we finished ahead of Force India, which was one of our targets.

Q:
How much more understanding do you have of the circuit the team is not heading to Korea for the first time?

James Allison:
Heading to Korea last year was certainly a voyage into the unknown and we certainly arrive in Mokpo with more megabytes of data on our servers than in 2010. That said, for the inaugural event we faced a circuit which was very dirty and a set of very trying weather conditions in the race so there is still much to learn about the track. Track evolution was very pronounced so we will have to see if that was a result of the then recent surfacing or if the local environment is contributory to this.

Q:
The weather had a big impact on the race last year – what range of conditions we could expect this year?

James Allison:
Certainly the weather presented us with an interesting set of challenges last year but the current forecast is for rather pleasant conditions which should be favoured by all those to all taking part in the event.


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