Why is the summer shutdown so important for us?
Dan Fallows, Technical Director: “The summer shutdown was a unique opportunity to switch phones and emails off and take a proper break, given how stressful and busy the season can be.
“It’s important for everyone in the team to shut off for a bit, relax and recharge, and now we’re ready to keep pushing forward in the second part of the campaign.”
As we embark on the second part of the season, how do you reflect on the performance of the team, Lance and Fernando so far?
DF: “Our team has executed the season incredibly well so far and both our drivers have driven extremely well.
“In Fernando, Lance has a team-mate who is an exceptional driver and who has shown his ability from the outset of this season.
“Considering the injuries Lance sustained from his cycling accident pre-season and his determined recovery, he’s performed very well alongside a formidable team-mate.
“Both drivers have been absolutely critical in helping us understand where the car needs to be improved.”
What will Free Practice entail for Fernando and Lance at Zandvoort?
DF: “Free Practice is essential to see how the tyres behave and degrade on long runs and on Qualifying runs.
“However, we have to balance our limited practice time between understanding the behaviour of the tyres and evaluating our upgrades – and we have aerodynamic upgrades to test at Zandvoort.
“To achieve this balance, we have a baseline practice programme that we run at every Grand Prix, which we adjust accordingly to allow sufficient time for aerodynamic tests.”
What if it rains on Friday or Saturday?
DF: “Rain during Free Practice will make our job harder, as we will have to make a call on whether our upgrades work based on less running.
“As much as we want to run as many laps as possible in the rain, we have to weigh up the risk of running in inclement weather with the return that we’ll get in data.
“We want to minimise the chance of damaging parts and if we believe the chance of an incident is too high, we’ll elect to keep our drivers in the garage.”
What’s our objective this weekend?
DF: “We’ve been working tirelessly to develop our understanding of the AMR23. We believe we now have a good understanding of the car’s weaknesses and we’re taking steps to address them. We hope that the performance of the car at Zandvoort, with our latest updates, will confirm we are heading in the right direction and help Lance and Fernando fight for points this weekend.”
Insight and Speed with Cognizant
Race interruptions: Mistakes can be costly at Zandvoort due to its banked corners with minimal run-off areas and punishing gravel traps. Red flags can be a common sight in practice sessions as drivers explore the limits of the track, and last year’s race saw a Virtual Safety Car and Safety Car deployment.
Overtaking: Passing isn’t easy at Zandvoort – the 2021 and 2022 Dutch Grands Prix averaged just 20 passes per race. The run to Turn One is the best opportunity while the second, shorter DRS zone between Turns 10 and 11 also provides opportunities to make a move.
Strategy: In a caution-free race, a one-stop strategy is competitive given the high loss of time when pitting. The VSC and Safety Car pushed the field into a multi-stop strategy last year and strategy will need to be adapted on the fly if that happens again this season. Like last year, Pirelli has provided the C1, C2 and C3 compound tyres.
Zandvoort is a unique track in that Turns One, Three, 13 and 14 are steeply banked. Thanks to the positive camber of the corners – with the surface sloping down towards the cornering direction – cars can take these turns at higher speeds.
While friction is higher at high speeds, drivers need to put in less steering angle to take the banked corners at Zandvoort and therefore, there isn’t a markedly different effect on tyre wear at the track.
Banked corners present a dilemma to drivers, as there are multiple racing lines that they can take through the tilted turns. During practice, you might see drivers experimenting with different lines. They’ll need to exercise caution; the barriers are looming to punish any mistakes.
Unlocking the Lap
A lap of Zandvoort begins with a short run to Turn One, where drivers hug the inside line and get on the power early towards the banked left-hander that is Turn Three. It’s all about getting a good exit onto the following straight for Turns Four and Five, which are flat out.
Turn Seven requires a small lift off the throttle and sparing use of the exit kerbs, which can throw the car off balance under acceleration. Turn Eight is another rapid right-hander that signals the start of a low-speed sequence.
Trail-braking into Turn Nine, drivers are briefly back on the throttle before reaching Turn 10 which leads into the second DRS zone of the lap and a hard-braking zone into Turns 11 and 12. The lap concludes with a cambered right-hander at Turn 13 and a steeply banked, flat-out final corner that sees drivers accelerate down the start-finish straight.