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How F1 Teams Prepare for Track Layout Changes

Preparing for an F1 race is a team effort, involving many departments and a variety of different roles. A lot of work takes place in the factory to enable the race team to hit the ground running at the track, and for the drivers to be in the best position possible on Friday for FP1.

Every track is different with its own unique characteristics. The main differentiator between the tracks is the layout, so the balance between corners and straights, and the corner types. But characteristics also refer to the tarmac, the weather, the kerbs, the run-off areas. All of these things are factored into setting up the car and how the drivers tackle a lap.

Sometimes these characteristics can change. It may be a tweak to the layout, like in Barcelona where the final chicane has been removed. Or it could be a track resurfacing, or changes to the types of kerbs used. These all needs to be factored into our preparations so we can make sure the cars and the drivers are ready to tackle these changes.

Barcelona’s change to the final sector is particularly interesting, because the slowest corner on the circuit is now being swapped for one of the fastest. The twisty chicane has high kerbs and the set-up of the car had to be compromised for it. Now that’s gone, the flavour of the track changes slightly and can impact the set-up of the car.

So while it may seem like a small change in the grand scheme of things, it won’t go unnoticed by the drivers or the engineers.

Watch the video to hear from the Team on how we factor track alterations into our pre-race preparations.