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

Q:
Pascal, what challenge does Suzuka place on tyres?

Pascal Vasselon:
Suzuka's figure-of-eight lay-out makes it a fairly well-balanced circuit in terms of tyre wear. The loads are quite high but are spread evenly across the casing. You need a chassis that can cope with constant high-speed cornering - it's a more important factor than straight-line speed. You have to strike the right balance, though, between top-end performance and grip - it's a high downforce track that requires a finely-tuned set-up. In order to keep our cars balanced through the fast corners we are able to adjust pressures to increase tyre stiffness. It is yet another track that places an emphasis on a strong qualifying performance, given that overtaking tends to be fairly difficult.

Q:
What tyres are you taking this weekend?

PV:
After consultation and tests with our five partner teams, we have selected one new construction and four different dry-weather compounds for Suzuka. Three of these have not previously been used in racing conditions. We will also have a new type of wet available.

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

PV:
The track's twisty, high-speed nature and relatively abrasive surface mean that we will be using tyres from the harder end of our range in Japan.

Q:
What about pit stop strategy?

PV:
The penalty for running a heavy fuel load is substantial at Suzuka - about 0.4 seconds per lap for every extra 10kg. Scheduled pit stops last about 30 seconds.

 

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