Indian GP…from an engine’s point of view

Buddh International Circuit: three corners in detail

Turn 1
After the start-finish straight the track falls sharply downhill for turn 1 before rising again for turn 3. This change in gradient compresses both the driver and the car into the ground, generating huge vertical g-forces. The lubricants in the system will therefore also be squashed towards the bottom of the tank, which can in turn make pick-up difficult.

Back straight (between Turns 3 and 4)
The Buddh circuit features three long straights; the pit straight, the long run between turns 3 and 4 and the shorter spurt from there down to turn 5. The longest straight is the back straight, a huge 1.2km, with the engine running at wide open throttle for over 15secs. Interestingly this straight also features an altitude change with the track going downhill to the midway point of the straight before then climbing back up. The gradient changes will have an effect on gearing, which will need to take into account the dip and crest.

Turns 10 and 11
The second part of the track is much twistier, shifting the emphasis from outright power to engine driveability. Turns 10 and 11, a radial turn with a profile similar to the Spoon Curve in Japan, is one of the most challenging. The drivers ‘play’ with the pedal over a relatively prolonged period as they attempt to find the limit of the car. This sustained period of lateral G will also test the engine’s oil and fuel systems to their limits.

Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 head of track operations
The Buddh International Circuit is one of the more interesting circuits on the calendar for engine engineers as there are many separate challenges over the course of one lap. There are long periods of wide open throttle, such as the long back straight, which require good top end power, but equally there are some tricky complexes such as turn 1 and the final sector. Additionally we encounter several long, radial turns where delivering sustained torque in the medium rev range is required. Balancing out the need for high top end power with the requirements for good medium and low speed driveability is always a tricky balance to find.
Then there are also the external factors we need to account for too: the track surface is usually very slippery at the start of the race weekend. It can clear after one session, but then it will become recoated overnight in dust from the surrounding fields. We can help give a bit more grip by giving the driver a less aggressive torque map, which in turn gives a smoother torque curve and therefore less ‘bite’ on the exit of turns. Doing this has the favourable advantage of giving slightly lower tyre wear.

We’re really looking forward to India. We’ve had an incredible run of success in the last two races, scoring our 209th pole – a new record for an engine manufacturer in F1 – and consecutive podium lock outs for the first time since 1996. However we’re only looking at the present now and the fact there are still two titles to win and four races to go. We’ll be helping our partners as much as we can to secure the positions they want in both championships.

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