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Q&A - James Allison, Lotus

The main challenge of 20 races is finding the stamina to keep up with such a gruelling schedule. We are sized appropriately for the current regulations of test bans and no test teams, and so all of the resources that we have to go racing come from the race team. Those 20 races, which kick-off with three pre-season tests that start in February, then go on to late November. With the exception of a brief window in August, where racing stops for a short while, it's an unrelenting grind for the guys who are the travelling teams. The challenge is to keep your energy up during what is now a very, very long season.

Q:
It's the second season of Pirelli's return to F1 – what can we expect from the 2012 rubber?

James Allison:
We ran the new Pirelli tyres in the Abu Dhabi test last year. It's fairly difficult to draw a clear conclusion, because you are not using your regular drivers and this makes it difficult to see the underlying performance of the tyres. But from what we could tell from our instrumentation the 2012 construction was not substantially different in its performance to the 2011 tyre. It remains to be seen how aggressive or otherwise Pirelli will be with their compounding. I'm not expecting big changes.

Q:
2012 will also see the second season of DRS can we expect any changes here?

James Allison:
Many teams, including us, spent a lot of time last year trying to find the right balance between stability and drag step. It will be slightly easier a year on to get that balance right. For the FIA, who have the responsibility of selecting the DRS switching point on the circuit, each track last year was a new venture for them. A year on it will be much less of an adventure or the FIA to choose exactly where to put the DRS line for best effect. In places where by common consent overtaking was too easy last year they will make an appropriate adjustment to get a better result in 2012.



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