Heat makes car balance problems worse – Nick Chester

by Tom Cairns
Nick Chester - Renault F1 Team at the 2019 Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix - Circuit Gilles Villeneuve - Free Practice 3

Renault F1 Team Chassis Technical Director Nick Chester is content on the team’s chances with car setup for this weekend’s German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.

The current layout is known for its fast turns and accountable straights, so a balanced setup from Chester’s point of view is key for this track.

Hot races this year including Barcelona, Montreál, Paul Ricard, Red Bull Ring and potentially Hockenheim are examples to watch how a Formula 1 car handle when it comes to finding grip on particular setups.

“Hockenheim has quite a mix of corners,” Chester said. “Turn 1 is very fast and then there’s a bit of slow speed especially at Turns 2, 6 and a chicane round the back of the circuit.

“There are also some straights so you also have the drag-downforce balance to bear in mind. Overall, you need a car to work right across the speed range there.

“It’s often really hot at this time of year in central Europe as we experienced in France and Austria. If you have balance problems, heat makes it worse as you lose grip, see an increase in sliding and then it’s a vicious cycle. The tyre range is the same range as Paul Ricard and Austria. We’ll be aiming to get the car well balanced and, given how we went in Silverstone, we’ll be targeting a similar outing.”

Nico Hülkenberg - Renault F1 Team at the 2019 Formula 1 British Grand Prix - Qualifying
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Renault sit behind their engine partners McLaren F1 Team in fifth position in the Constructors’ Championship and with a twenty-one point margin to make up, they have a major battle on their hands to keep hold of fourth from last year.

Their cause was helped by the performance at the last round in Britain. Chester felt the French team had found the correct setup for the Silverstone track and aims to repeat the feat this weekend in Germany.

“We had a pretty good balance on the car in Silverstone,” Chester added. “The drivers were happy, and we could run a fairly light wing level.

“The car was good in low-speed, which we know it often is. Hockenheim does have a number of lower speed corners. Silverstone has a bit of medium to high-seed and we found our usual problems there, which we’re working on to find improvements. We had good race pace and our race balance was strong in Silverstone.”

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