Michelin's F1 project manager, Pascal Vasselon, talks about the US Grand Prix, tyre wear at Indianapolis, pit stops, and more...

Q:
Pascal, what special demands does Indianapolis place on tyres?

Pascal Vasselon:
Indianapolis is pretty much two tracks in one. The banked section accounts for about one third of the circuit's length and features the season's longest stretch of flat-out driving. The infield section, meanwhile, is very slow and incorporates sequences of tight corners that wouldn't look out of place in Monaco.

These two distinct facets compel us and our partners to focus as much on aerodynamics as we do on tyre compounds. The fastest part of the circuit generates a great deal of heat, particularly where the left-hand tyres are concerned. The banking offsets some of the centrifugal force by increasing the vertical load and this places a massive strain on tyres. It tests our rubber to the limit and our tyre compounds are principally designed to cope with this, the circuit's most challenging element.

Q:
So what tyres are you taking this weekend?

PV:
We will be bringing just two different types of dry-weather tyre to Indianapolis. They are based on new constructions that were developed prior to Monza.

Q:
What compounds have you selected - soft or hard?

PV:
The nature of this track obliges us to compromise and opt for tyres from the medium sector of our range. If we brought tyres that were too soft, they would be ill suited to the banking. Hard tyres would struggle to generate adequate grip through the tighter sections of the track and would slide around too much. The surface on the banked area of the circuit is very abrasive. The infield, on the other hand, is fairly smooth - and this is the most significant contrast between the two different parts of the track

Q:
What about pit stop strategy?

PV:
A two-stop strategy will probably be the favoured tactic here, given that the fuel weight penalty is relatively slight - less than 0.3s seconds per lap for every extra 10kg - and pit stops are relatively swift, at about 28 seconds per visit.

 

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