Daniel Ricciardo says Formula 1 could be in for a “crazy” Eifel Grand Prix this weekend thanks to the unpredictable weather at the Nurburgring.
With the German race taking place much later in the year than is normal, current forecasts are for showers the entire weekend with temperatures struggling to get above 10 degrees Centigrade.
The cold conditions will make things harder for teams to get their cars and tyres working, and could set up some unpredictability as F1 returns to the venue for the first time since 2013.
Speaking ahead of the race, Ricciardo said: “The weather report looks quite cold and wet, so it’ll be very different to our last few races where it’s been warm.
“It’ll be interesting to see how the car behaves in these conditions. Overall, given the time of year it could be quite an unpredictable weekend so we could be in for a crazy race. Let’s see what happens.”
The weather at the Nurburgring at this year can change dramatically, and Red Bull team boss Christian Horner admits that teams are going to have a tough time making sure they are not caught out.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” he said. “I’ve been there in May and you open the curtains and see snow! I’ve had a race cancelled there in the past.
“Anything can happen though. It could be a beautiful autumnal weekend and the sun could shine every day we go there. But be prepared for everything and take your winter jacket because I think that you’re going to need it.”
The key focus for teams in managing the weekend will be in getting the tyres to work properly – with the cold conditions especially difficult for the harder compounds to get switched on.
But if the event is hit by showers across the weekend, then teams will also need to carefully manage their allocation of wet and intermediate rubber.
Renault’s chief race engineer Ciaron Pilbeam said: “We need to be prepared to focus on getting the tyres working if it is dry, and to consider how and when we use our limited number of wet and intermediate tyres if the forecast is for rain over the weekend.”
But McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl says that the temperatures will not be much worse than is experienced at winter testing, when teams do not normally have too much trouble.
“It is difficult to predict,” he explained. “In the end I think it depends a lot on the tyre choice, or how the tyres work – especially if the track temperatures are cold. But it’s the same challenge for all.
“But we do testing in winter in Barcelona, where the track temperatures are ambient also below 10 degrees in the morning, and the cars are also performing because the grip is there with the tyres.”
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