Step by Step - Q&A with Nick Chester

The boost in relative performance shown in Budapest comes from the hard graft in Enstone and Viry. Technical Director Nick Chester explains the challenge to maintain momentum at the Hockenheimring.

The team seemed to make progress on pace in Hungary? How was this achieved?
There are a number of factors to be optimistic about after our visit to the Hungaroring. We were in a position to get a point for Jolyon on pace and it wasn’t a race of attrition so it was a genuine performance.

We have found quite a lot of this pace in the car both from new components and from different approaches to set-up. We learnt a lot at the Silverstone test and this is filtering through. We’re certainly getting a better balance with the car to use the tyres more efficiently and we’re also making improvements in low-speed and medium-speed corners. The race pace showed that FP3 was not an illusion.

Is there more to come?
We have further advances in the same direction. There are a few more parts to go on the car and we’re learning at every race so we would like to see some further improvement.

What’s the technical approach to Hockenheim?
It is a combination of low and high speed corners but also with some decent straights. The low and medium speed stadium section is key to a good lap time. The downforce levels are more familiar than the extra high levels of downforce we used in Hungary,

We’ll be working on trying to generate grip in the low speed corners. To do this we look at the mechanical and aero sides of the car. Mechanically it’s about how you balance the car, how you proportion the stiffness in front and rear suspension and how you set it up to get a good mixture of the car being stable and having enough front end for the low speed corners. Aerodynamically it’s about adding downforce to the car which works in the low speed corners where the car has higher rideheights. We are going to have a few new parts to try which should give us some benefit too.

What’s the potential in Hockenheim?
The outlook is fairly similar to a lot of other places. The requirements are not hugely specific and the most similar requirements from a recent circuit would be Austria. We expect a fairly similar outlook to there plus the added performance we’ve managed to unlock from the car.

How far advanced is the 2017 programme?
Most of our departments are focused on 2017; we have a strong wind tunnel programme, we’re refining the car layout, the schematics are all in progress for the car. It’s a massive change for 2017 with a wide car, wide tyres, a completely different aero package, the loadings into the chassis are different, the power unit is different, the layout at the back of the chassis is different; there’s a tremendous amount of work to be done. It is a very exciting challenge and very motivating for the design team.