GPl Archives 10 April 2013 Issue #66 - Page 56

fter a weekend which flattered to deceive in Malaysia, Lotus technical director James Allison gives us the lowdown on wet weather woes, setup solutions and why the great Pirelli tyre debate makes for pleasurable reading particularly at Enstone. Melbourne and Sepang have some similar characteristics; how does Shanghai differ? James Allison: China presents quite a different challenge to the last two circuits. Melbourne has a lot of medium speed corners with relatively few at either end of the scale, while Sepang has a reasonable spread; perhaps slightly biased towards the more high speed corners than average. Shanghai by contrast has almost no high speed corners, featuring predominantly low speed ones with a smattering of medium. Some of the lower speed corners are also extended in their radius, even with tightening arcs. This provides quite a stern test for the tyres, as you have a significant excess of torque over grip making it very easy to wreck a set of rear tyres rather quickly. It’s generally quite cool in Shanghai as well – unseasonably so last year – meaning that graining will be an issue once again; particularly given the smoothness of the asphalt which is comparable to that of Melbourne. From what we’ve learned so far the E21 is reasonable in conditions where graining is rife, so we’re hoping for more of the same in China. A