MEAN GREEN MACHINE
Technical director Andy Green on Force India’s machine-shop method
F1 Racing: What’s your philosophy for technical development?
Andy Green: We try to focus on the key areas. We use the feedback from the drivers extensively and that’s really what we base our development around – where they see the important areas of improvement, from a car-handling perspective. Because it’s not just about adding downforce to the car; you’ve got to add downforce to the car in the right way, and in a way that allows the driver to use it.
So it’s important that we always listen to the driver on the areas where he feels the car could be improved.
F1R: And how do you use the simulator? AG: We back up what the drivers are telling us with work on the simulator to double-check that the car mimics their feedback and that we’re getting an appropriate lap-time performance.
After that, it’s a case of looking at the car and understanding what areas need to be improved to give that response and the improvement to the driver’s handling. That’s where feedback from the car and the sensors on it play a vital role in how we go about development.
F1R: What did you find were the biggest challenges of designing to the new regulations for this season?
AG: It really was a case of rebuilding the car from scratch and we’re still immersed in that process now. Trying to understand where Pirelli were going to go with the tyres was probably the biggest area of unknown to us, because we weren’t involved with any of the testing last year. So we were more or less in the dark as to what to expect from the rubber.
F1R: Will we see big performance gains as the year goes on? AG: Absolutely. Developments are going to be very steep and if we were to race the early tracks with end-of-season cars, they would be significantly faster.
F1R: By how much? AG: Seconds.
F1R: So what’s it like knowing that you’ve got that much performance to tap?
AG: It’s frustrating, because I want it now! That’s the thing; we want all that performance on the car now, but it’s not possible. It takes time to push those developments through the design cycle and manufacturing process, and getting them on the car is incredibly frustrating, because you just want to be able to flick a switch and the parts are there – but for us that’s not possible.
F1R: Do you think that’s where teams like Red Bull and Mercedes are better able to score so heavily? AG: Absolutely. They are always able to bring parts to the track way faster than we can.