Albert Park - the technical requirements 30 Mar 2006
Melbournes Albert Park is a circuit composed of public roads, which means it has an unusual track surface that changes significantly over the course of the weekend, as rubber is laid down on the racing line. The circuit is characterised by a series of hard phases of acceleration and bumpy braking areas ahead of the chicanes. These factors influence the set-up of both the chassis and the engine, as Renaults engineers explain
Suspension: We must find a compromise between a set-up that is stiff enough to give the car a responsive change of direction in the slow chicanes, but soft enough to ensure we have good braking stability to avoid locking the wheels under heavy braking.
Aerodynamics: The downforce level used at this race is medium-high, as we aim to give the drivers the best possible traction out of the slow corners.
Tyres: A street circuit is always very green when we begin running, and track conditions only begin to improve after several sessions. This is true at Melbourne, and tyre wear varies according to the track conditions. Wear levels are normally higher on the first day as the tyres slide more because of the lack of available grip, and gradually diminish during the weekend.
Braking: The circuit includes six major braking zones from around 300 kph. The brakes are used heavily in Australia, and we pay particular attention to brake cooling to avoid oxidisation.
Performance: With 69 percent of the lap spent at full throttle, Melbourne is a demanding engine circuit. Pure performance is not the critical parameter, rather we focus on good torque to launch the cars out of the slow corners.
Cooling: The relatively cool temperatures and high atmospheric pressure (1010 millibars) mean the engine develops more power, which provides some moving parts with a severe test. We look for the best possible cooling compromise to minimise the stress on these components.
Electronics: Every circuit demands a specific electronic configuration, with tweaks to the engine mapping, traction control settings, gear ratios, and fuel consumption. We work during practice to best adapt these parameters.