Formula 1

Force India’s Tom McCullough: “It’s an old-school track that punishes mistakes”

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Credit: Sahara Force India F1 Team

Tom McCullough, Chief Race Engineer at the Sahara Force India F1 Team, says it will be important for the team to give their drivers a well-balanced car for the Japanese Grand Prix, particularly for the first sector of the lap.

The sweeping esses section is followed by the Degner Curves, and its is imperative to get this section right in order to have a good lap time, although any mistake is likely to be punished due to the old school nature of the Suzuka International Racing Course.

Even amongst engineers, the race in Japan is one of the highlights of the season, and it should be an even greater experience for the drivers around the high-speed corners thanks to the higher downforce levels of the 2017 machines.

“The Japanese Grand Prix is one of the highlights of the year, a classic venue with some of the most enthusiastic fans in the world and a great atmosphere,” said McCullough.

“Suzuka is a challenging circuit that drivers typically enjoy and the 2017 regulation cars should make this track’s high-speed corners even quicker. The unique figure-of-eight layout means there’s a similar number of left and right-hand corners and most drivers’ highlight is the iconic sector one, with a constant change of direction requiring a very well-balanced car.

“Set-up is biased towards the medium and high-speed corners: effectively, there are only two low-speed corners, the T11 hairpin and the final chicane. It’s an old-school track that punishes mistakes and it’s a challenge for both drivers and engineers.”

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