Lotus Renault GP technical boss James Allison previews the F1 2011 Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit.

Q:
James, although the results did not come, the pace in Korea looked good - is there cause for optimism?

James Allison:
The pace was good in Korea. Part of this is as a result of track-specific characteristics. In Korea, most cars suffered from understeer in the race. This appeared to affect us somewhat less. However, we have continued to modify and improve the car and we hope to put up a respectable showing in the remaining races.

Q:
How much simulation can you do for a new track? What can you do in advance and what can only be learnt upon arrival at the site?

James Allison:
There are lots of tasks that can be well simulated prior to arriving at a brand new circuit. Conventional lap simulation can give us a good idea of items such as: optimal gear ratio selection, which rear wing to fit, what springs and rideheights to fit, fuel consumption, cooling levels, DRS effectiveness etc. Although much preparatory work has been done, there will remain several areas where the team can only really react once we start running in anger. For example: grip level of the tarmac, effect of track bumpiness on the optimal suspension setup, tyre degradation etc. To give you an example, a 3 percent variation in the asphalt grip would lead to 1 second difference on the lap time.

Q:
Are there elements of the circuit layout in India which resemble tracks already on the calendar?

James Allison:
The track is a conventional downforce circuit with a decent array of cornering speeds and a sensible length main straight. At one level all tracks are sort of the same, with similar straights and corners. However, the real character of a track only really unfolds once you start to run on it. This track looks like it offers a range of challenges to the drivers and I am sure it will prove to be popular.

Q:
How should the final three races suit the car?

James Allison:
We are a little concerned by Abu Dhabi as it shares many of the features of the other three tracks where we have not fared well this year. However, both in Abu Dhabi and at the other two remaining circuits of the year, the team will do their utmost to extract the maximum available performance from the R31.