On the Way to Eifel GP: race schedule
Engine chaos, Red Bull ready to leave
Honda‘s departure from Formula One could have very serious consequences for the entire paddock at the end of 2021. The excessive costs and the high level of complexity of the power unit are still at the centre of the discussion especially after the inevitable economic crisis generated by the Coronavirus pandemic of recent months, which further reduce hopes of seeing new builders engaged in the queen class.
The situation is even more delicate in the Red Bull house, which is without an engine in view of the new technological era that will open in 2022 and now wants concrete answers by the end of the year putting at risk its presence – and that of AlphaTauri – in the Formula 1 that will come.
“No new motorists want to commit to a period of only four years until the next regulation 2026. Everyone now knows that you can’t just come in and be competitive right away. Hybrid technology is too complicated and expensive for that.”
“It is true that we can still have a powertrain, but we do not necessarily want to focus on any solution. As for Renault, they develop an engine according to their needs and tailored to their chassis. This is also a difficult compromise for us. For this reason, if we can’t find a competitive solution, we could follow Honda and leave Formula 1. Verstappen has a competitive engine as the prerogative in his contract, but that’s also our premise. Without an engine with which we can win the world championship, the project is not interesting for us.”
Alonso back on track
The time of return, now, is really close. After a two-and-a-half year absence, Fernando Alonso will return to the wheel of a Formula 1 formula on Tuesday – 13 October. He will do it, this is the most interesting thing, in a filming day planned in Barcelona. The Spanish channel Movistar revealed this, following an indiscretion by the Iberian journalist Albert Fabrega. Alonso, who left McLaren and the entire Circus at the end of 2018, has faced the most diverse categories of motorsport in recent years, moving from the WEC to IndyCar to Dakar.
Now, however, the two-time world champion has chosen to return home, signing a two-year contract with Renault that will tie him for the 2021 and 2022 seasons to the team with which he won titles in the mid-2000s. Alonso, who had recently criticized the lack of opportunities to test on the track in contemporary Formula 1, having to rely almost exclusively on simulators, will then have the opportunity to ride even with a car in 2018. Enstone’s team is reportedly working to arrange a couple of test days with a car dating back to the Spaniard’s last season in F1. With cars at least a couple of seasons old, it is allowed to take to the track.
Race schedule (UTC+1)
Friday 9th October:
- Free Practise 1 11:00-12:30
- Free Practise 2 15:00-16:30
Saturday 10th October:
- Free Practise 3 12:00-13:00
- Qualifying session 15:00-16:00
Sunday 11th October:
- Race 14:10-16:10
The characteristics of the track.
The legendary German track has many travel curves and long straights, which is why the required aerodynamic load is medium.
A special feature of this track are the ups and downs due to the Eifel plateau, from which the Grand Prix is named. The first braking is downhill with a very tight bend difficult to make, then in the Mercedes Arena you have an uphill curve, then descend in the direction of the Dunlop hairpin. The ups and downs then continue throughout the track with the very difficult braking of turn 10. The main difficulty will therefore be to find the right braking points and especially initially the locks will be frequent.
There will be 2 DRS zones: the first on the main straight, the second between Turn 11 and Turn 13.
Challenges for tyres and brakes
In 2013, Pirelli had been in Formula 1 for some years, so it has experience on this circuit, but over the years the cars have changed a lot and for this reason the Nurburg track will represent a whole new challenge. On the German track, Pirelli decided to bring the mixtures: C2 (Hard-White Band), C3 (Medium-Yellow Band) and C4 (Soft-Red Band). Also remember that each driver will have available: 2 sets of Hard, 3 of Medium and 8 of Soft.
Brembo ranked the German track with a 4 out of 5 braking system severity. In fact, despite the use of the brakes for only 12.2 seconds per lap, the third lowest value of the 2020 World Championship after Monza and the Red Bull Ring, their use is necessary in 9 of the 15 corners of the circuit, in 8 of which are exceeded the 4.3 g of deceleration. The overall load in the race exercised by the driver on the brake pedal is also about 63 tons, double those required for the Monza Grand Prix. The slopes that characterize some sections of the track finally alter the normal distribution of vertical forces between the 4 wheels, requiring a greater sensitivity to the braking drivers to avoid locking.
The most challenging detachment is the downhill one that precedes Turn 1 where, according to the simulations conducted by Brembo, the cars will go from 338 km/h to 111 km/h in just 2.32 seconds and in the space of only 118 meters. Riders will need to exert force on the brake pedal equivalent to 135 kg, to reach the deceleration peak of 5.4 g.
Great attention should also be paid to the braking of Turn 13, where it is estimated that 5.9 g of deceleration will be reached, lower in the 2020 World Championship only to the 6.1 g of Turn 2 in Sochi and on equal merit with the detachment of the Bus Stop of Spa.
Weather conditions very close to those typical of winter. Conditions with which the pilots will have to deal throughout the weekend at the Nurburgring: 10 °C of the atmosphere and a lot of humidity (around 90%). Rain that is expected to accompany Formula 1 from Friday to Sunday, although at the moment it does not seem expected during the race. Temperatures, however, will drop further on Sunday: lows of 4 °C and maximums of 8 °C. This means that the teams, especially those who like Ferrari will have to try new things, will struggle from the first day of free practice also (and above all) in the management of the tyres.
“We can’t wait to run at the Nurburgring. It is an iconic track that plays an important role in the history of Mercedes. This is where the legend of the Silver Arrows was born way back in 1934 and we are very proud to have added some chapters to this rich heritage. I also remember some personal memories: here I saw my very first live race and it is where I fell in love with the world of racing. I also competed in many races here and even attempted the Nordschleife lap record in 2009, but it wasn’t my best idea. As for the race weekend, we also know that the weather on the Eifel can be quite challenging at this time of year. It is expected cold, rain and wind and this can make the race very unpredictable. The circuit is a very challenging all-round test, with various types of turns and speeds. In atypical environmental conditions, it will be a fun challenge to best adapt the W11 to the needs of the circuit. It’s going to be an exciting weekend.”
FIA, new guidelines on starting tests
The Federation, which had initially removed two points on Hamilton’s licence (a decision that later turned into a fine at Mercedes), made it clearer. Drivers can perform the starting practice at an explicitly identified point before arriving on the grid for the Grand Prix of the Nurburgring. This was confirmed by race director Michael Masi :
“When it is allowed to exit the pit lane to line up on the grid, the starting tests can take place after the end of the pit wall, adjacent to the orange reference on the right side of the track. Drivers wishing to carry out this procedure will have to stop on the right and allow the other cars to pass to their left, which in the overtaking operation will be able to touch the white line. But they have to go back to the right as soon as they can.”