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The Bahrain outer circuit will be particularly unique due to the short length of a lap, but while it is a layout that has very few corners, it is those corners that Motohashi-san believes will be a key area of focus.
“The biggest challenges are the new corners. For example the simulation says the driver can apply almost full throttle but we don’t know if that’s realistic. If the driver lifts off the throttle then in that case we would need to adjust the energy strategy. The energy strategy depends on throttle application, so if we have some differences between the real world and the simulation it’s very tough, and I can’t completely rely on the expected throttle application in brand new corners before we’ve physically run them.
“At every track we focus on throttle application. If whether the driver needs to keep in the mid-range of the throttle or needs to fully lift makes a massive difference to our energy strategy.”
With harvesting under braking also set to be a big challenge because there are so few braking zones, Friday practice is set to be the most important of the year in terms of learning about the circuit. And it’s not the straights that necessarily demand attention.
“Practice is very important, more important than many others. I don’t know what the track improvement will be or things like that, so it’s difficult to know what will happen on Saturday and Sunday just based on Friday’s data, but we do have some experience from the many races we have done.
“We have been together for three years now and through that period AlphaTauri has been very important for Honda, and we see each other as mutually important partners. We have a very good relationship and it really was a big pleasure to be able to win with them and I’m really happy with how much progress we have made. Especially when you think about next year, I am really looking forward to how much we can achieve.”