Will much change with the car set-up for the different layout?
From the car’s perspective, the set-up won’t be drastically different, as two of the three sectors remain pretty much unchanged from last weekend. A shorter lap means less cornering, less energy going into the tyres and less temperature in the tyres. So, drivers can attack laps more in Qualifying, as the tyres won’t start going off at the end of the lap, but it also means any mistakes will have a bigger impact on the Qualifying result.
But because of the new middle sector, some set-up tweaks and changes will be required due to the differing demands. There’s less high-speed cornering on the Outer Track, so more focus on low-speed cornering will put more energy through the rear tyres. Therefore, finding the right balance will be tricky, but it also means we can focus the set-up a bit more at a particular corner speed range.
We can expect teams to be trying out different set-up tweaks and even different wing levels in practice on Friday, to decide on the right direction to proceed with. So, that first day of track time will be important and we’ll need to maximise every second of action.