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June 16, 2024
Overcoming Start Challenges: The VCARB 01 F1 Car’s Path to Race Day Success

The VCARB 01 F1 car has been demonstrating impressive speed in qualifying sessions, especially at the Imola Grand Prix where both cars made it into Q3. However, the team’s race performance is being significantly hampered by poor starts, an issue that is critical to address.

At the recent Imola Grand Prix, drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda faced immediate setbacks right after the start. Both lost two positions as soon as the race began, which proved difficult to recover due to the track’s challenging overtaking conditions. This recurring problem with race starts is something the team is acutely aware of and is working hard to improve.

Daniel Ricciardo expressed his concerns about the starts, noting, “The starts, they’re hurting us at the moment. Honestly, I don’t know yet what the issue was. I didn’t feel like I botched it, as I felt like everything was going okay from the procedure, but we have to have a look. It’s so sensitive.” Ricciardo’s comments highlight the complexity and sensitivity of the starting procedures, suggesting that even slight deviations can lead to significant performance losses.

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Yuki Tsunoda also acknowledged the team’s struggles with race starts, stating, “It is kind of a topic for our team, we’re working hard. We are really working hard for the starts throughout the races so far. We have improved a little bit, but we need a step more, because I would say consistency is not there. So, we have to look for the future.” Tsunoda believes that while there has been some progress, the team needs to achieve greater consistency to ensure better starts across all races.

Tsunoda suggested that the problem might be a combination of factors, including tire preparation and clutch consistency. He mentioned, “I thought it was tyre preparation, and we’ve done a lot of tyre preparation work, but it’s not enough. I think it’s coming from also consistency with the clutch. Red Bull, having the same engine, they are able to have a consistent start. So, for sure there is something that we are missing or we have to improve.”

Team principal Laurent Mekies offered a comprehensive view on the issue, emphasizing the multifaceted nature of perfecting race starts. Mekies said, “The start is not any more a single performance item. You have the clutch, the drivers have the procedures, there are the drivers themselves, you have the tyres – and I probably forget quite a few items. It’s one of these things that is great in our sport, that we need to bring together many different departments to try to go to the next step, and that’s what we need to do.”

Mekies highlighted the need for consistency in starts, noting that the team has had a mix of good and bad starts this year. He explained, “We have been a little bit inconsistent. We had very good start in Miami from high up in the grid against the big guys, but we have been a bit up and down this year. It’s like everything else in the car. We just need to do small steps altogether.”

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Improving the race start consistency involves a detailed and collaborative approach. Mekies stressed that it’s about bringing together different departments and making incremental improvements. This means refining the clutch, driver procedures, and tire management to achieve more reliable starts.

The VCARB 01 F1 car’s performance in qualifying is commendable, but to capitalize on this speed, the team must address the issues with race starts. Both Ricciardo and Tsunoda have identified areas for improvement, with a focus on tire preparation, clutch consistency, and overall start procedures. Team principal Laurent Mekies acknowledges the complexity of the issue and is committed to bringing various departments together to enhance the starting performance. By making small, consistent improvements, the team aims to overcome this hurdle and maximize their potential in upcoming races.

As the team continues to work on these challenges, their efforts to improve start consistency will be crucial in converting qualifying speed into race success, ensuring that the VCARB 01 F1 car remains competitive throughout the season.

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