With the big return of Formula 1 to Suzuka this weekend, the various teams will not only find a legendary circuit in the history of the discipline but also a track renowned for being very demanding with the tyres.
Carlos Galbally is head of tire science at Ferrari. But before discussing the challenges of Suzuka, the Spanish engineer first explained how he joined the Scuderia.
« My journey with Ferrari started in 2016, although you could say this one was already in the works long before that. I’ve always been passionate about engineering and cars, so after finishing my engineering degree in mechanics in Spain, I moved to Germany where there is a greater tradition in car manufacturing and therefore more opportunities in engineering. »
« After a few years in the road car industry, I was lucky to take my first step into Formula 1 with Sauber. After an intense period in Switzerland, I had the opportunity to settle in Italy in order to work for the biggest names in this sector, so the decision was very easy to make. »
Pirelli will bring its hardest compounds this weekend to Japan, namely the C1, C2 and C3, the Japanese track being particularly demanding for the tires as Galbally explains.
“It is a very energy-intensive circuit, characterized by very fast sections requiring frequent changes of direction. It is an anomaly of the season in terms of energy distribution going from left to right, the track being the most asymmetrical of the year. »
“Due to this high energy demand, Pirelli will bring its three hardest tire compounds, which is in fact the least common combination as it has only been used in five events, Japan being the last one. « between them. The rate of tire wear is high due to the length of the turns, while the level of abrasiveness of the track is generally medium or high. The combination of all these factors, in addition to the weather always uncertain, make Suzuka a real test when it comes to tire management. »
« As with the other energy-intensive circuits such as Barcelona, Silverstone or Zandvoort, it will be important to find the right balance between warming up the tire over one lap and saving it on long stints, so you will have to get the best possible compromise between qualifying and the race. »
« The long stints in FP2 will be critically important as they will provide insight into tire management for the race. This will help us give guidance to our drivers who have an important role when deciding on the best strategy to adopt. In this regard, the reduction in the duration of free practice sessions has brought its share of challenges this year, but we have overcome them thanks to even more precise simulations when preparing for a race.