Q and A with Norbert Haug
Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Vice-President Norbert Haug explains the great importance the Catalunya circuit has on the development of the McLaren MP4-23, as well as on the progress of every other car in the field. In addition, despite the engine homologation rules, McLaren Mercedes team engineers still have venues in which to experiment new means of improving performance.
What are the development possibilities after the engine homologation for the remainder the season?
"The engine rules have been specified until the end of 2012. Following the Malaysian Grand Prix, every manufacturer delivered a reference engine for homologation to the FIA. From this time onwards no more modifications of the engine are possible, except for the development of fuels and lubricants, and for improvements of the peripherals components. The engines, which have been used in the Bahrain Grand Prix, will also be used in the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix within the cycle of two race weekends."
What are the challenges of the Circuit de Catalunya for cars and engines?
"The track at Barcelona with the long front straight and with long sweeping corners as well as tight bends is one of the most demanding of all circuits in terms of aerodynamic efficiency. It is also challenging for the engines.
About 70 percent of a lap will be run under full throttle and after the new chicane before the start and finish straight, about 13 seconds will be run under full throttle. Barcelona is the circuit which all competitors know best, because it's the test track all teams use the most, and they have a lot of data from there."
Why is Barcelona as a test track so popular among all Formula 1 teams?
"It's a rule that those who can win here are capable to do so at all the other Grand Prix circuits. The track is particularly demanding for a Formula 1 car's aerodynamic efficiency. Therefore, many teams focus on the Circuit de Catalunya at Barcelona when they test, and therefore, they have more experience there than at any other circuit of the current Grand Prix calendar. Prior to the season, we completed here considerably more than 1,000 laps during the test days corresponding to more than 5,000 kilometers. Moreover, we tested from Monday to Thursday in the week prior to the race and completed another 1,600 kilometers on the Circuit de Catalunya."
What is the importance of fuels and lubricants concerning the development of the engines?
As a consequence of the significant restrictions by the new engine rules, the significance of fuels and lubricants has of course increased. Accordingly, the improvements in this sector are important. Developing more and more efficient lubricants in co-operation with our partner ExxonMobil, we concentrate on reducing friction, and with fuels, the focus is on optimizing combustion. As everywhere in Formula 1, we explore the practicable limits." McLaren Mercedes