F1 Portuguese GP 2021: race preview and schedule
Ferrari updates for F1 Portimao 2021 GP
The characteristics of the track – F1 Portugal GP
The Formula 1 World Championship has debuted for the first time in Portimao last year, a track completed in 2008 but which by characteristics embodies the spirit of numerous historical tracks that have made the history of the category. The Portuguese racetrack in fact has high-speed sections alternating with blind curves and hairpin bends, which constitute a complete test on the competitiveness of the cars as well as the talent of the drivers. It is the succession of steep ups and downs and necks, however, that distinguish the track, which subject the pilots to significant vertical as well as lateral and longitudinal accelerations, causing air gaps and roller coaster sensations.
A ride in Portimao measures 4653 meters, to be covered 66 times in the race to reach the total distance of 308,826 kilometers. The layout chosen for the Grand Prix has 15 turns, 9 of which are to the right, a feature that will make the left side of the car the object of greatest concern in the race regarding tyre wear. The first simulations also predict an average lap speed of around 215 km/h, among the lowest values of the 2020 season so far.
The setting for F1 Portimao 2021 GP.
Portimao presents itself as a particularly technical track, with curves of various types that require different characteristics from the layout. The presence of high-speed folds will lead the teams to adopt a medium-high load aerodynamic configuration, similar to that used at the Nurburgring. However, the recurring use of the third or even second gear in six curves of the track implies once again the need for an excellent mechanical grip, that is to say the adherence guaranteed by the adjustments of the suspension assembly, fundamental at low speeds. All this suggests that technicians will prefer softer adjustments to the rear, ensuring greater stability and improving traction, to allow the power of the power unit to be effectively discharged to the ground. Particularly demanding in this perspective appears curve 14, a long bend to the right where it will be decisive to go on the gas as soon as possible still in the travel phase.
Race preview of Portimao GP 2021: load transfer is a factor to find the perfect lap time.
Another distinctive aspect of Portimao is the large amount of ups and downs, characterized by steep slopes that, in addition to benefiting the show, constitute an additional difficulty in driving and fine-tunging the car. The slope in fact accentuates longitudinal load transfers, i.e. amplifies the movement of weights in acceleration and braking between the front and rear wheels. In the extreme working conditions of Formula 1 tyres, such transfers affect the overall level of grip, a variable that drivers will have to be able to handle both in detached and in low-speed restarts. This is the case, for example, of the exit from turn 3, in which the single-seater accelerates immediately facing an uphill leftward bend. The neck line placed immediately after the curve in fact suddenly shifts the weight on the front, causing a loss of grip of the rear tires, through which the single-seater discharges the horses of the engine to the ground.
Portimao GP is challenging for brakes and tyres.
As happened last year, Pirelli is bringing the hardest compounds in the range available, namely C1, C2 and C3. Instead, the allocation of tires is changing compared to the rest of the season, with teams ing three hard trains compared to the traditional two and seven sets of soft tires against the usual eight, an aspect that could lead to a slight review of work schedules in free practice.
On the other hand, the minimum inflation pressures, equal to 23.0 psi at the front and 19.5 psi at the rear, as well as the recommended parameters of camber, i.e. the inclination of the wheels relative to the ground, equal once again to -3.25° to the front and -2.00° to the rear, remain almost unchanged from the previous race.
Brembo analysis for 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix.
Brembo’s technicians ranked the F1 Portugal GP track with a severity of 3 out of 5 for the braking system, the lowest value of the Grand Prix held in the last two months. While at the Nurburgring in eight of the nine detached circuit were exceeded 4.3 g of deceleration, in Portimao this happens in only two of the seven braking of the circuit. Teams will therefore have to adopt a brake disc configuration with a different cooling capacity, being able to go down among the options made available by Brembo.
Brake usage of a Formula 1 car on Portimao track.
The brakes are used for about 14 seconds, equal to 17% of the lap time. The most demanding detached is the one that precedes Turn 5 where, as described by Brembo, the cars decelerate from 318 km/h to 84 km/h in the space of 122 meters and in just 2.72 seconds. The rider also exerts a force equivalent to 135 kg on the brake pedal, thus reaching the deceleration peak of 5.1 g.
The first detached is also somewhat insidious, where single-seater cars climb just two gears before entering at over 200 km/h on turn 1. It will therefore be necessary to be able to count on a great responsiveness and precision of the car, in order to go to the rope point without ruinously hitting the deterrence placed inside.