Williams's Mark Gillan says tyre management fundamental to race performance
|By Pablo Elizalde and Jonathan Noble||Wednesday, April 18th 2012, 14:11 GMT|
Managing tyres properly will be key to strong race performances this season, according to Williams's chief operations engineer Mark Gillan.
Last weekend's Chinese Grand Prix highlighted the fact that this year's tyre strategies can make or break a race for a team, and Gillan reckons that not upsetting the tyre balance will have a huge influence on getting good results regardless of how strong a car is.
"Tyre management is fundamental," Gillan told AUTOSPORT. "The tyres are the number one item on the car, followed by aero and then engine. But understanding the tyres and managing the tyres is the key to unlocking race performance. Qualifying as well, but of particular performance in race.
"Aerodynamics is still a key driver and better aerodynamic performance and efficiency will deliver more laptime, as long as you don't upset the tyre balance, and that's something that's always a factor.
"It's never not been an issue, but this year it seems to be a particular balance between the two. It's not just the aero, it's a whole mechanical balance."
Gillan says that finding the right balance between tyre use in qualifying and in the race is also a key element that Williams is still working hard on to try to improve.
"That's the fine balancing act that needs to be done, and is becoming more important. All teams are working in that direction and we're looking to improve in that direction too."
Gillan is optimistic that Williams can get its tyres working properly both in hot and cool conditions, but admits the temperature changes between qualifying and the races will be hard to manage.
"I think we can manage both, but where it becomes difficult is when you have a big temperature swing, particularly with the parc ferme conditions. In qualifying and the race if there's a big temperature swing, you have to primarily err towards the race and then just a question of how much that temperature swing is in terms of the set-up.
"So it's becoming really interesting. In this race Mercedes and Rosberg did an excellent job. I've never seen it so tight with the chasing pack. It was like lap two or three of the race on every lap.