RACE DEBRIEF

    Formula 1 is all about speed, so it should go without saying that gaining or losing time around a race track is a vital aspect of how well a driver performs.

    This is where cornering comes into play, with drivers aiming to maintain as smooth a line around the circuit as possible – finding the right balance through a turn can gain time, while getting it wrong can lose it.

    But how is this achieved? Well, with each driver favouring a different type of car balance and having to adapt their style to better suit their set up, the method of driving on the racing line can vary greatly. Grip is a key factor in cornering, and a lack of this at either the front or the rear of the car can result in understeer or oversteer.

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    In the second episode of Racing ID – the F1 TV series taking a deep dive into the skills of a Formula 1 driver – Jolyon Palmer breaks down the different approaches to cornering, explaining oversteer, understeer, the V-shape and U-shape styles and the potential pros and cons of each.

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    Palmer looks closer at the impact of each approach, including how Max Verstappen’s “distinct” style – which involves a preference for oversteer rather than understeer – can offer an advantage at certain circuits.

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    Charles Leclerc favours this balance too, but Palmer highlights how it can potentially backfire, particularly when the car is not playing ball.

    Other F1 drivers prefer a car that leans more towards understeer, including Lewis Hamilton. Palmer provides an in-depth comparison of Hamilton and Verstappen’s contrasting styles, and also examines how Fernando Alonso – another fan of a more understeer-based balance – has sometimes benefitted from a “very different” approach to cornering.

    Watch the latest episode of Racing ID on F1 TV by clicking here. You can also find every episode of the series so far by clicking here.