The addition of a brand new circuit to the F1 calendar is always an exciting prospect and this weekend’s inaugural Korean Grand Prix in Yeongam certainly has all the ingredients for an entertaining race.
It’s an anti-clockwise track with a diverse mix of corners, long straights, and genuine overtaking opportunities. But what are the challenges faced by the teams when getting to grips with a new venue and how do they prepare for the unknown? Renault give their take on the matter…
“Our initial preparations began many months ago when the FIA provided all the teams with a detailed circuit map,” explains chief race engineer Alan Permane. “From this we were able to create a digital representation of the track and then asked our drivers to add what they believe to be the correct racing line.”
With a virtual lap in place, the team has spent the last month running virtual simulations to get a head start on the set-up required for Yeongam. “The simulations allow us to assess the best aero levels, suspension settings, ride heights and even sensitivity to fuel load,” confirms Alan. “There are lots of unknowns, such as the grip level of the tarmac, surface bumps, or the camber of the road, but we still have a fairly good idea of the set-up we will need before we arrive at the track.”
So what have the simulations revealed so far? Well, the projected lap time is 1m 44s and the cars will be on full throttle for 55 percent of the lap and on the brakes for 20 percent. The average speed will be 195 km/h, with a top speed of 315 km/h on the 1.15 km straight between turns two and three. As for the corners, turn eight is probably the quickest of the lap with an apex speed of 235 km/h, while turn three is the slowest corner, expected to be taken at just 65 km/h.