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GP Week : Issue 213
36 GPWEEK.com // 36 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> USA PARTNERS: COTA – the track with everything TECHNICAL TECHNICAL PAOLO FILISETTI Technical Editor Compared to most of the other Tilke designed tracks, Austin is certainly one of the best the Austrian track designer has conceived. It is in fact a track that recalls ingredients from the past, when tracks were not just flat, featuring altitude variations, a demanding series of high speed corners, and of course a twisty infield too. Therefore it is certainly a technical track, where cars, and notably tyres are put under pressure. It is also a track where aero efficiency, (and we mean above all low drag) plays a relevant role, provided that the low drag is balanced by an adequate level of downforce. What we want to underline is that chosing an extreme setup in terms of low downforce doesn’t pay dividends on this track, and it is much more something of a desperate move, which some teams or drivers have to do to fix an inconsistency which may slow the pace of their cars. This observation is obviously directed mainly at Sebastian Vettel. Having to use his sixth power unit, he was forced by the rules to start from the pitlane. He had no choice but try an extreme setup, exaggerating the top speed reachable on the long back straight. But, as we said, it was a desperate move. The technicality of this circuit in fact demonstrated that only really efficient cars, capable of generating high downforce with low drag, were able to manage the other important element that more than others would affect the car ’s performance here. I am of course taking about the tyres. The two compounds brought here by Pirelli were the Soft (yellow) and Medium (white). Their wear ratio justified the use by the leading cars of the Medium for most of the race stints, while the slower cars had to follow a ‘brave’ route, running more with the Soft ones, to recover the 1.2s offered thanks to the performance AUSTIN RACE SECTOR ANALYSIS T1 TIME ANALYSIS RANGE 27,336(ALO) – 28,135(MAG) 27.2 27.4 27.6 27.8 28 28.2 ALO RAI VET RIC MAG BUT MAS BOT HAM ROS T1 T1 RACE SECTOR ANALYSIS T1 SPEED ANALYSIS RANGE 195,6 Kmh(MAG) – 213,3 KMH(HAM) 194 198 202 206 210 214 ALO RAI VET RIC MAG BUT MAS BOT HAM ROS SPEED 1 SPEED 1