McLaren Honda F1 Australian Grand Prix preview

McLaren Honda F1 Australian Grand Prix preview

15.03.2016: HEAR FROM THE MANAGEMENT Eric Boullier McLaren-Honda Racing Director

HEAR FROM THE MANAGEMENT




Eric Boullier
McLaren-Honda Racing Director


“It’s been a very long winter, and I know that I can speak on behalf of the whole McLaren-Honda team when I say that we can’t wait to go racing again! There’s been an incredible amount of hard work done over the winter, and we’re all itching to get back on the grid to see where we are for this, our second year of the McLaren-Honda partnership.


“We are certainly a step ahead of where we were this time last year in terms of preparation – we have much more mileage under our belts and we’ve performed most of the necessary system checks that we were still working on during race weekends in 2015. That said, we didn’t manage to complete our final configuration and set-up work for the first race, so we go to Melbourne with a number of unknowns.


It won’t be an easy start to the weekend in that sense, since we’ll need to concentrate on setting the car up for each session and readying the final specification of our package as soon as we get to Albert Park. Since the final pre-season test, there’s been a huge effort back in Woking to bring new parts to Australia and it’ll be good to finally get to the track on Friday and see how we fare.


“Until the other teams fully show their hand in the same conditions, we won’t have any idea where we stack up in comparison, but our priority is to focus on extracting the most out of our own performance, while still maintaining reliability. It’s a difficult balance to strike, but as usual we’ll work hard, in the hope of faring better in Australia than we did last year.


We are always greeted by a warm welcome, and it’ll be fantastic to hear the cheers from the knowledgeable Aussie fans in Albert Park. We’re all counting down to the green light on Friday so we can get out on track and start the season proper.”



Yusuke Hasegawa
Honda R&D Co Ltd Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer



"As a season-opener, the street circuit of Albert Park is a strenuous track for the drivers, car and the power unit, so it will no doubt be a difficult race. The circuit is flat, narrow, slippery and fast, which makes the whole weekend unpredictable.


“That said, we are eager to see what the package is capable of out on track. During the short winter months, we worked hard to address the issues encountered in 2015, and during the two weeks of testing in Barcelona, we were able to confirm the fundamental power unit set-up for 2016. The logical next step is to test and show our progress on track, which will begin to shape the course of our development for this year.


“Last year, the team was given a warm welcome by the enthusiastic fans, as well as fantastic support from our Honda Australia peers. We hope we can show our appreciation through our efforts on the track during the grand prix weekend."




CIRCUIT STATS


2015 winner     Lewis Hamilton, 58 laps, 1:31:54.067s
2015 pole position     Lewis Hamilton, 1m26.327s
2015 fastest lap     Lewis Hamilton 1m30.945s (lap 50)
Name     Albert Park


First race     Lewis Hamilton, 1m26.327s

Circuit length      5.303km/3.295 miles (12th longest track of the year)

Distance to Turn One     350m/0.217 miles

Longest straight      860m/0.534 miles

Top speed     305km/h/190mph, on the approach to Turn One

Pitlane length     280m/0.174 miles, estimated time loss 21s

Full throttle     61 per cent

DRS zones     Two, on the approaches to Turns One and Three

Key corner     The Esses at Turns 11 and 12. The minimum apex speed is 225km/h (140mph) and negative camber at the exit makes it easy to run wide.

Fastest corner      275km/h (171mph), Turn Eight

Slowest corner     84km/h (52mpg), Turn 15

Major changes for 2016     No changes to layout, but a few alterations to kerbing, run-off and Astroturf

Fuel consumption     1.7kg per lap, the third highest of the season due to the amount of acceleration bursts from low speed

ERS demands     Medium

Brake wear     High, there are seven big stops from more than 230km/h (143mph)

Gear changes     56 per lap /3248 per race





 
CIRCUIT FACTS



History lesson: A permanent fixture on the F1 calendar since 1996, Albert Park did in fact host grands prix many decades earlier. It was home to the non-championship Australian GP in the ’50s, a race twice won by Stirling Moss.


What makes the track unique: The bumpy pit straight. These bumps create severe pitch oscillation, which makes the car challenging to set up. The aerodynamicists want to run it hard; the engineers want to run it soft and a compromise has to be reached for best overall performance.


Grip levels: Low. This is a street circuit, used just once a year, and it’s very slippery until some rubber gets laid down during practice. Drivers need to be wary of the negative camber, particularly at corner exit.


Run-off: Substantial, but mistakes are punished because there’s a mix of grass and gravel awaiting errant cars. Remember Martin Brundle flying through the air in his Jordan in ’96?


Watch out for…: Sunset. The 16:00hrs start (local time) means the sun gets low and into the drivers’ line of vision towards the end of the race.





EVENT STATS


Start time     16:00hrs local / 05:00hrs GMT

Race distance     58 laps (full world championship points will be awarded after 75 per cent distance/43.5 laps)

Safety Car likelihood     48 per cent, relatively high

When to press record     The start! The drivers haven’t raced for 15 weeks and some might be too anxious to get things underway. Remember 2003, when eight cars were eliminated in a pile-up at Turn One?

Don’t put the kettle on     When the race reaches laps in the early teens and late 30s. These were the two pitstop windows during last year’s race

Weather conditions now       27 degrees and sunny

Race forecast     19 degrees, patchy cloud. Being a coastal location, Melbourne’s weather can change quickly.

Tyre choices     Supersoft/Soft/Medium



- McLaren also photo

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15.03.2016 / MaP

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