A lap with Mario Andretti

Mario Andretti will compete in the Porsche Supercup race at the US GP meeting, and was one of the first drivers to sample the new track when he tested the car at the end of August. Adam Cooper asked the 1978 World Champion for his views

A lap with Mario Andretti

"I think what's interesting about this is that Tony George has planned for a further reconfiguration of the track, which I think makes a lot of sense. It will have to show him that this will be there for a time before he reconfigures, and that it's going to be successful. Not that they've tried to hold anything back, as far as the expenses they've undertaken are concerned. But it would be better if you could stretch your legs a but more on the infield, and if he could rob a little more real estate it would be a little more interesting!

"It's a compromise, no question, and the word itself tells it all. They've tried to do the best job they could, and I don't think it's too bad. There are some good radius corners, but there's one extremely slow area with an extremely quick section following it. It does have the mix. I would say it's going to have a lap time similar to Austria. It's a matter of getting it figured out. I assure you it's going to be an interesting challenge, and I don't think it's going to be an easy track to set up for.

"Turn 1 is the obvious overtaking place; there's a very, very tight entry into the infield, and you must really, really keep in mind a good right hand apex, because you immediately go into Turn 2. Between Turn 2 and 3 that kink should be flat, and then you have a late apex for Turn 4, and that's a pretty quick corner. From Turn 5 it's flat into Turn 6, the lefthander. There's a fairly generous radius, and then a fairly short burst into Turn 7 that leads you onto the back straightaway. All that section is wide, and a good job's been done on the paving.

"I would say that if you have a seven-speed gearbox the back straightaway will be fifth gear. At the end of it there's a lefthander, Turn 8, that's quicker than you think. Run-offs generally look good, except here there's no gravel trap, and only a tyre wall and some grass leading to it. I told them what I thought, and I would suspect that they might have revised that.

"Again there's a short burst of acceleration, into the slowest part of the circuit, which is a right/left, and very, very tight. It'll be first or second gear. It's so slow, you can't believe it. And it's got no value because there's no overtaking that they could possibly think of doing there. On the first lap it's going to be like the Loews in Monte Carlo. Some cars will literally have to stop to wait for the queue to dissipate.

"There's a short burst into Turn 11, the righthander. What's going to be tricky is the transition onto the oval. There's a kink there, and you can't actually cheat on the inside kerbing too much because the abutment of the tunnel is right there. So you must negotiate the kink. That's flat, and you're still accelerating very hard through the gears, and then you've got the transition; even though they've filled it in, it's still abrupt.

"Actually with the Porsche Cup car if I had an understeer situation, and I couldn't keep it tight to the right, and would miss my apex and wind up at the transition 12 inches wider, the car would technically become airborne! It's going to be something to deal with, and all of these aspects are going to pose some people more problems than others.

"It's going to be very challenging because of the last corner, Turn 13. I don't think there's another corner like that in F1, and it's going to present something totally different. That's what's going to involve the most compromise in the set-up; you're going to have to key on that corner, and set the car up to really negotiate that one flat out, and perhaps give a way a few of the slow corners in the infield. If you've got all the downforce you need for the infield, you'll be bog slow down the straightaway. You'll have to give a portion of the infield up - I would say you'd probably run the max downforce dictated by Turn 13, just so you can do it flat. And you'll have to live with that.

"There's no run-off there, and I don't know how an F1 car will stand an impact of that force against a concrete wall, but I'm sure they knew what they were getting into when they accepted that corner. Turn 13 in the rain is going to be very, very interesting. Maybe that will give the tyre companies an idea of how to construct oval wet tyres! At least it does drain, and there are going to be no puddles."

shares
comments
The Challenge of Turn 13

Previous article

The Challenge of Turn 13

Next article

New book says Blair lied over Bernie donation

New book says Blair lied over Bernie donation
Load comments
How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Plus

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but 
flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Plus

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't Plus

How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says OLEG KARPOV, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021
The signs that point to F1's rude health Plus

The signs that point to F1's rude health

OPINION: Formula 1's calendar might still be facing disruption as the pandemic affects travel but, says MARK GALLAGHER, the business itself is fundamentally strong thanks to the epic rivalry taking place on track and the consistent arrival of new sponsors

Formula 1
Jul 24, 2021
The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat Plus

The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat

OPINION: Formula 1's sprint race trial at Silverstone drew mixed feedback on Saturday, but there remained the true test of how it would impact Sunday's Grand Prix. While fans were busy marvelling at Fernando Alonso's progress, a key lesson was being learned that would directly contribute to the dramatic lap one clash at Copse the following day

Formula 1
Jul 22, 2021
The off-track considerations that led to F1’s Hamilton/Verstappen Silverstone shunt Plus

The off-track considerations that led to F1’s Hamilton/Verstappen Silverstone shunt

OPINION: Formula 1’s 2021 title fight turned ugly last weekend when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided at the start of the British Grand Prix. Verstappen thankfully walked away unharmed, but this had been a clash long-since coming

Formula 1
Jul 21, 2021
Will 2022's all-new cars look like F1's concept model? Plus

Will 2022's all-new cars look like F1's concept model?

Formula 1 provided its clearest example yet of what the 2022 cars are set to look like when it presented a full-scale concept to the world during the build-up to last weekend’s British Grand Prix. Underneath the special shiny livery was a design that hinted at the future, but teams will be digging into key areas that may reap differing results

Formula 1
Jul 20, 2021
British Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

British Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 British Grand Prix will live long in the memory for the dramatic clash between Formula 1's two title protagonists, which opened the door for other drivers to capitalise. One did so in spectacular fashion, while others fluffed their lines

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021