The Challenges of the Las Vegas Circuit
The Las Vegas circuit, known for its 17 turns and three long straights, presents a unique challenge for teams participating in the upcoming race. Qualifying may require multiple laps to get the tires up to optimal temperature due to the track’s characteristics.
Weather Conditions and Tire Performance
The expected temperatures ranging from 3 to 6° Celsius, along with the possibility of rain, will significantly impact tire heating. Andrew Shovlin, the chief track engineer at Mercedes, emphasizes the need for teams to adapt their settings and potentially introduce new parts to cope with the cold weather in Las Vegas.
“The intensity of the cold will be crucial. If the track temperature remains in single digits (below 10°), it will resemble winter testing conditions. In such cases, tire warm-up becomes challenging, leading to issues like graining. Waiting for a slight temperature increase might not be feasible.”
Racing and Qualifying in Unfamiliar Conditions
The upcoming race in Las Vegas poses an intriguing prospect of competing and qualifying under these demanding circumstances. Teams are currently assessing the risks associated with the new circuit and devising contingency plans accordingly.
“In extremely cold temperatures, predicting tire performance becomes uncertain,” states Mercedes F1 track performance manager Riccardo Musconi.
“Vegas experiences chilly weather during this time of year, especially with sessions taking place around midnight. Additionally, the softest tires available further complicate the situation,” Musconi adds.
Preparing for the Unknown
With no prior data available for the Las Vegas circuit, every team will step into uncharted territory. The preparation work carried out at the factory needs to encompass various dimensions and aspects beyond the usual routine for other circuits.