Eastern Promise - Q&A with Nick Chester

Renault F1 Team has shown strong speed since the summer break. Chassis Technical Director Nick Chester looks at how to realise this potential in the final races of the season.

Is Suzuka a popular track with the drivers and team?
The drivers enjoy the circuit as it’s a good, old school racing track. Many regard it as one of the best tracks on the calendar. It’s very long at 5.807km, with lots of elevation changes, long straights ending in tight chicanes or hairpins and interesting corners. It’s a challenge to get right, requiring strong front-end grip for Sector 1 with high speed change of direction but with enough stability to give driver confidence. It’s also a track with high sensitivity to drag and engine power and the choice of rear wing can be a difficult compromise. Off-track it’s also pretty popular, the atmosphere is always incredible!

What do you make of Suzuka Circuit from a technical perspective?
The Esses in Sector 1 are particularly notorious as the cars sweep through them. There’s no problem with tyre warm-up and we will use the harder end of the Pirelli tyre compounds, also used at two other high-speed tracks, Silverstone and Barcelona. It’s quite power sensitive as there are three long periods of long throttle; the straight through 130R, the pit straight and the curve between Spoon and the hairpin. It’s not very high downforce due to the straights, and also fairly easy on the brakes.

With just five races left on the calendar, are there any new developments coming on the 2019 car now?
We are bringing a new front wing to Suzuka. We also have a new chassis wing - externally the changes are pretty subtle, but we expect more downforce and grip as a result.