Q:
How do we expect the E21 to fare in Austin?

Alan Permane:
There are certainly no particular features of the circuit that give us cause for concern. The layout has a similar feel to Korea in many aspects, with high speed change of direction in the opening sector, a long straight in the middle sector, and low speed traction events combined with a long continuous curve in the final sector. It's a circuit we should be comfortable with by all accounts.

Q:
We visited the circuit for the first time last year; talk us through the significant aspects of a lap...

Alan Permane:
It's an impressive facility. There's a steep uphill section into turn one, then turns two, three and four are flat out in seventh gear;taken at around 280kph before dropping down to fifth gear for turns five and six at around 220kph. Combined, these make for a fast opening sector after the tight opening turn. Turns seven to ten don't present any particular challenge to the drivers, while turn eleven not only provides a good overtaking opportunity, but is also crucial for a decent run down the long back straight. We expect to see the cars reach around 315kph here, with heavy braking into turn twelve at the end. Turns thirteen to fifteen are all low-speed, second gear corners, with sixteen to eighteen forming a long right-hand curve that by nature induces a fair amount of understeer.

The lap concludes with two relatively straightforward left-handers at nineteen and twenty, before heading down the pit straight. One difference for this year sees the inclusion of a second DRS zone down the pit straight between turn twenty and the first corner; a relatively short run of 580m compared to the regular 700m along the back straight, but one that may well increase overtaking opportunities into the opening turn.

Q:
Finding grip was the challenge for setup and performance last year, do you expect this to be the challenge once more?

Alan Permane:
As per the previous season, Pirelli have been very conservative in their allocation of the hard and medium compound for this race. On our first visit to the circuit last year, the tarmac was extremely smooth as you would expect from a newly laid surface, which naturally presented a bit of an unknown quantity in terms of tyre performance; the particular challenge being in generating tyre temperature.

The uncertainty this time around lies in how much the tarmac will have matured over the past twelve months. In principal, with some of the bitumen having now worn away we should be left with a rougher surface which will allow more energy to be put through the tyres, thereby alleviating the aforementioned warm-up issues. Given the early running times and also the seasonal aspect of when we visit Austin, track temperatures can be relatively low during the morning practice sessions but rise significantly during the afternoons; an additional consideration to factor in when preparing practice strategies. We're hopeful of a slightly warmer welcome this year, and the forecast seems to be in our favour.

Q:
Are there any particular challenges with both drivers using different specification chassis?

Alan Permane:
Certainly if we'd started the season trying to learn the car and the latest specification of tyres with different configuration chassis it would have been more of a challenge, butthis late in the year we are far more able to accommodate this approach to give both of our drivers what they want from their cars in qualifying on Saturday and in the race on Sunday.

Q:
What's possible in Austin?

Alan Permane:
Given what we've seen recentlyand after analysing all the data from Abu Dhabi, there's no reason to say we shouldn't be right in the hunt to take the challenge to Red Bull.

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