US GP Preview - Sauber


After scoring five Championship points at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, Team SAUBER PETRONAS immediately heads across North America to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for another back-to-back race, the US Grand Prix.

Willy Rampf (Technical Director): "Indianapolis is a very special track. The banking is unique in F1, and the main straight is very long. Running from the infield to the end of that straight, via the banking, provides the longest full throttle section in F1. That, and the frequently high ambient temperature, makes it hard on engines. The good thing there is that the track is wide, so there are several possible lines into Turn 1 which create overtaking possibilities.

"The surface is quite abrasive, especially where they have cut drainage grooves in the oval section, and that can affect tyre wear. The infield is very tight - the drivers get into first gear there three times a lap.

"Ideally you need a configuration that will give you good brake stability and good traction for the slower part of the track, but high top speed and low drag for the straight. It's a real compromise. The best baseline is to run even lower downforce than in Canada, because the straight line speeds are higher."

Jacques Villeneuve: "Indy is a nice track. You have the infield complex, but then at the end of the lap it's flat out with just a kink when you get on to the main oval and the banked corner. We're going through it at 300 kph, and it doesn't feel like a corner at all. Finally, you have the very long straight with the start/finish line, where we reach 340 kph. There is heavy braking at the end of that, which is different to other tracks. That section offers a good overtaking opportunity. The circuit is also bumpy, and quite difficult.

"It's always nice to go to Indy because the atmosphere outside of the paddock is always great. It feels a bit like a home Grand Prix because the number of Canadian fans that come and the many supporters that I still have around the USA after my time in IndyCar there and winning the Indy 500. Obviously, the track brings some good memories, so I am always happy to race there."

Felipe Massa: "In Montreal I could add five points to our score and together with Spa last year this was my best finish of my Formula One career so far. This showed that we are capable of achieving such a result with determination and teamwork. I also think that tracks like Montreal suit my style and Indianapolis is a nice place, too.

"In my time in F1 I have only raced once at Indianapolis, and that was last year when my race lasted until the first corner! There's a good chance I can improve on that this year - I hope to get to the finish this time!
"The banking is easy flat, no problem. It isn't a corner at all in an F1 car. And that high-speed part creates the need for a compromise. You need downforce for the tight infield corners, but you also need good top speed and minimal drag for the banking and the pit straight otherwise you are just going to get overtaken.

"I like Indianapolis. You are conscious of being somewhere special, with a big history, racing in front of knowledgeable fans who really love their motor racing."

Article from Pitpass (

Published: 14/06/2005
Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2022. All rights reserved.