Bitter trials at Salzburgring (Rd. 5 Salzburgring, Austria)
“From this round on, the weight penalty was increased for 10kg reaching 40kg in total. The same handicap as Chevrolet, Honda’s immediate and worthy rival. Our morale is high as we know we’ve got on a par with the top teams.
Salzburgring is located on 420m-high mountains featuring two long straights, which requires special measures for a bit lower atmospheric pressure. The control of the turbo unit holds the key; specifically a higher rpm of the turbocharger to get the maximum boost for the qualifying.
In addition, quick laps require the highest possible top speed on the two long straights mentioned before, and for that purpose, you have to be very smart in exploiting the slipstream.
Teammates are helping each other on this term of course, but at the same time, you must not allow your rivals to use your slipstream and exploit rival’s slipstream as much as possible. That is why tricky maneuvers prevail in the qualifying. On this event, such maneuvers brought about an unprecedented situation. At the end of Q2, a bunch of cars in such a tactic slowed down in unison, and the session was timed out as it was. After the session, the race stewards deliberated the case and decided twelve drivers among fourteen suspects were guilty for “anti-sportsmanship conduct” and subject for penalty. It was really a surprising mishap we’ve never heard before. Honda’s three cars were too categorized in those wicked group, and more over a deviation in the rear wing dimension was detected at the post-qualifying scrutineering and the three cars had to start from the bottom end grids at Race 1. It was a mistake by our rear wing supplier who had made the wings just a millimeter shorter than the standard both in width and thickness.
In the real qualifying, Tarquini, Monteiro and Michelisz got 6th, 7th and 9th grid respectively. They started from the tail end for Race 1, but Race 2 presenting the reverse grid, provides better chance; Michelisz from the front row and other two from 4th and 5th grid.
Our plan was to follow the rule of “safety-first” for Race 1 and try to do our best in Race 2 counting on the favorable grid order. As a result, Michelisz made 3rd place and kept the consecutive podium finish.
We have confirmed that more power is needed on circuits with a long straight and some aerodynamic tweaks would be necessary for anti-drag measures. Many things would happen in a long season and we have to deal with each one of those things, maintaining our motivation for the ever higher results, and keep on improving continuously.”