Ask the Driver ~ by Paul Charsley: Crow-bar Corner

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Hello Paul,

As a professional driver could you please share your thoughts about my idea of a new type of corner:

Janne Rajala

Thank you Janne,

At least someone is trying to think outside the box, and for sure none of the new F1 tracks has anything interesting put into them other than the surrounding scenery.

I was trying to rack my brain on some corners similar to this and I finally remembered. Turn 1 at Cleveland’s Indy car track was a lot like this and the last turn at Sebring used to be like it too, except recently they have narrowed the entry.

A couple of points to address here, In theory it is always said that you should use as much of the road before you turn in to achieve the largest radius through the corner and therefore the highest speed, which would be the red line.

The reason to not chose the red line is you are constantly turning and a car always brakes better when the steering is straight, when the wheel is turned you are using some of the grip of the tyre to change direction, therefore you would have to brake a lot earlier and the whole time the car would be unstable as you went from left to right. Entry speed is always important, Schumacher always had an advantage over most in that respect.
Skill being, achieving highest entry speed while still not compromising exit and the apex speed but that’s always true in any corner.

What I would do in this instance is still drive a straight line in the braking zone and the turn in point, except instead of driving parallel to the track it would be diagonal across the track to somewhere right in the middle of the blue and red lines. This would give me the benefit of being able to brake as late as possible, get a good wide entry and so a good exit speed.

This, I believe, would be the most common line used by most, and once most drive that line, a “groove’ would form of more rubber and so making that option grippier and grippier as the weekend would go on. It would be impossible for the organizers to keep the whole track clean and marbles will always form with soft rubber racing tyres.

That being said if the whole straight was wide and the exit narrow, it should increase a passing opportunity, Magna Cours had something like it, unfortunately before the hairpin, the straight had a kink in it, and the previous turns were flat out making it difficult for drivers to get a run as aero would interfere with getting right under the rear wing.

Thanks for the thoughts and ideas, and definitely some parts have a lot of virtue, much better still than artificial pit stops, tyre compounds.


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