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Pitlanes, Spykers & Engines

Pitlanes, Spykers & Engines

Mark Webber - 2007 Japanese Grand PrixAfter unanimous agreement from the Formula One drivers, the FIA are to inspect the pitlane entrance at the Fuji Speedway this evening. According to the drivers, the fast left-right kink that confronts the drivers as the enter the lane from the circuit could prove disastrous if a driver made even the tiniest of errors. This concern about pitlanes follows disgruntlement from several drivers with Spa Francorchamps remodeled pitlane area. Although nobody crashed in the pits in Belgium, a lot of drivers voiced their concern, despite it falling on deaf ears. This time though, the FIA have said they will take a look.

It may be that the FIA decide it is in fact unnecessarily dangerous, but due to time constraints, a solution may not be possible. Most elements of a racing circuit are movable, including the barriers and and walls surrounding the tracks. It could be possible to reshape the pit’s entrance, but with the cars due to go out again on Saturday morning for the warm-up, the circuit officials are pressed for time.

They will look at it before tomorrow morning. We are all in unanimous agreement that it’s the most difficult corner of the track. David Coulthard.

I don’t know if they will be able to make the changes. It’s definitely something that needs to be addressed for next year, but I’m not too worried about it really. Mark Webber.

It is quite narrow and quick into the pits, so obviously it is not that easy or safe. Maybe we can change the approach so we go straight into the pits like at Monza. Jarno Trulli.

It is a little bit dangerous because when we brake to go into the pitlane we are around 300km/h and it is a bit tricky. It is not safe. We need to put maybe the speed limiter before the corner, but I don’t know if we can do something for tomorrow. Giancarlo Fisichella.

Another piece of interesting news comes from the far end of the pitlane, and from the Spyker garage. Adrian Sutil ran very well in the Friday practice sessions, claiming ninth in the first and sixteenth in the second. It seems as though the German’s prior knowledge of the track coupled with the B-Spec car is doing some wonders. Who knows, maybe even a change of ownership has bolstered the grid-trailing team. Buoyed with enthusiasm, the squad have suggested they are intending to fight for twelfth place in tomorrow’s qualifying sessions. Twelfth?

At the end actually Adrian made quite a big mistake on his new tyre run and I think we are over one lap quicker than we showed, and long run pace looked very competitive. We don’t know what other people have done with fuel levels, but if you look at the long run pace with the first two runs this afternoon, it was very, very competitive.

I think we would be very disappointed if we didn’t make that [Q2]. We seem to be definitely ahead of Super Aguri and matching Honda. He [Sutil] did a 20.5 this morning with a couple of mistakes so he should have done a 20.3, which would have been 12th or 13th, so that is where we are aiming. Mike Gascoyne.

I don’t share Gascoyne’s ambition, but it was an impressive showing from the rookie driver nonetheless. It should also be noted that this isn’t the first time Sutil has troubled the upper echelons of the Friday timing sheet, as the piano-playing driver also ran well at Monaco earlier in the year. Maybe the Spyker can get ahead of a Toro Rosso, possibly even a Super Aguri or Honda. But I think anything higher than 16th is little too much of a fantasy.

Oh, and Nico Rosberg has had to have his engine replaced. Thus, the German driver will forfeit ten grid slots tomorrow after qualifying. On that note, let’s hope team mate Alex Wurz’s morning performance wasn’t just a flash in the pan.

Japanese Grand Prix, Spyker, Adrian Sutil, Mike Gascoyne, Williams, Nico Rosberg

Oliver White

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