Interview with Super Aguri's aero chief
Super Aguri's head of aerodynamics Ben Wood took part in a question and answer session looking back at his car's performance this season and his hopes of finishing the year on a high at Interlagos.
Q: Ben, what are your feelings about the SA07's performance this year?
BW: In general, we have been pleased with the first half of the season's performance. We extracted a lot of performance from this car, but in the end we cannot compete with the larger teams we are up against. It's a constant development game and if you don't develop and put parts on the car as the season progresses, you go backwards on the grid. Our race team has done an excellent job in ensuring they extract the most out of the car. We are also very proud of the fact we took our points during dry conditions and by merit earlier in the season.
Q: It has been said many times that the team's in-season development has been hampered by budget constraints, do you have anything to add to this?
BW: We've never had the largest aero department and we are currently a team of 11 people doing everything, so we're quite used to making the most of limited resources. However, that gets a bit difficult when you can't afford to wind tunnel test. We have not been able to put on any really serious development parts since May, so it's really hurt our on track performance. This is one of the reasons why our situation is particularly difficult.
Q: Will you be making any changes to the department over the winter?
BW: Well, I hope we can take some more people on to continue the good work we've started. The guys in the Aero Department have all done a fantastic job. Each model designer, model maker and aerodynamicist has been immense in their own way. They all have different skills that blend very well together. There are no two people or jobs alike. We also thrive in having very good contact with the drawing office, race team and R&D as we all sit in the same room.
Q: We are approaching the final race of 2007, what recent upgrades has the team introduced in an attempt to replicate its performance in Brazil 2006?
BW: We have a new rear wing which, if dry, we'll be racing. It's partly about proving some non-aero concepts and we've been waiting to run it for a while now. We also have a few small modifications to the some of the brake ducts assemblies.
Q: Which characteristics of the track at Interlagos will suit the SA07 and which will not?
BW: Interlagos is a favorable downforce level for us, as are most places, and is characterized by a longish straight and several medium-speed, linked corners. Typically our development strategy has worked well here in the past in terms of what we can extract from our mechanical/aero platform. We should be able to generate some heat in the tires much easier with this type of surface and I hope this means we can put in a showing to encourage the team going into the winter development period, after two particularly hard races in China and Japan.