This will be the first time we have driven on the full F1 circuit so I’m really looking forward to that. However, it means the technical data we gathered from the two previous years is not a lot of use to us.
Tyre wear, fuel economy and car set-up will all be different, so we start with a clean slate. It also means that results from the past two years won’t mean much. In 2010, I had a pole and a second place, but had some major gearbox dramas last year.
I love the circuit and I’m really looking forward to discovering the best lines around the rest of the track. The longer track should add about 15 seconds to the lap. There is also a 1.2km straight from a hairpin so you need good traction to get a good launch on to the straight.
It’s also a very different format this year. In qualifying your three fastest laps will determine your grid positions. Then there will be three 12-lap races with no pit stops whatsoever which will make it very interesting to say the least. Almost like MotoGP races.
The first race will be on hard tyres and the others are soft. Races are also in the heat of the day instead of the night and at a hotter time of the year than when we’ve been there before so we can expect quite a bit of drop off in grip.
Fans will have to check their TV guides, because the new race times will mean they will have to broadcast a fair bit on 7 Mate with the last race replayed on Monday afternoon. It’s not ideal for the fans, but I now the diehards will probably live stream it on their computers. As I said last week, my tilt at the title has basically ended, but I will be pressing Frosty hard this weekend to gain back second place.