Pat Symonds corner analysis: turns 11 and 12 at Albert Park

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Melbourne is a challenging circuit in that most of the sixteen corners are really quite different. Each one presents a different sort of challenge, but it is the fast fourth gear open chicane that forms Turns 11 and 12 which is the most demanding of them all.

From the perspective of overall lap time, T11 and T12 are not the most important corners on the lap, but they are still significant and it is perhaps more true to say that while you cannot make up a huge amount of time in this sequence, it is extremely easy to make a mistake that will cost a lot.

The drivers approach T11 at over 300 kph, with their line of sight on the approach ‘tunnelled’ by concrete walls. It is not until the driver is on top of T11 that the approach to T12 becomes visible. Braking for T11 is not particularly hard, as the driver only needs to lose around 85 kph to get on line for the apex of T11. He hits the brakes relatively lightly, slowing progressively so as not to upset the car’s balance on corner entry. In this time (around ¾ of a second) he also completes two downshifts.

Having hit the apex, he opens the throttle very progressively, reaching full throttle for just a couple of tenths before lifting to part throttle for T12. There is always the tendency for a little oversteer in the middle of T12, and it is often necessary to adjust the car again before accelerating out of the turn.

Of the two corners, the second part is obviously more important, but a mistake in either corner will penalise straightline speed on the long run to T13…and possible cost a position in race conditions. Therefore, it is important to keep T11 extremely tidy, so that the driver is not off-line and can drive as straight a line as possible from the apex of T11 to the turn-in of T12.

Although the corners look quite open from the outside, and may seem relatively undramatic, it should be remembered that as the apex speeds are between 210 and 220 kph, the car is achieving over 4g lateral acceleration owing to the high levels of downforce available at these speeds.

Source Renault