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The half way point: What will it take to win the 2015 championship?

As Red Bull Racing Australia enters the half-way point in the season, we thought we’d take a deeper look into this weekend’s round at Queensland Raceway (our home round) with technical director, Ludo Lacroix, while Aaron Noonan gets into his vault of stats to compare where the team currently is versus the same point over the past three seasons, and more importantly, what it’s going to take to get us back on top from here.

LUDO ON QUEENSLAND RACEWAY

RBRA: QR’s well known for its bumpy surface, does that alter your preparation in terms of trying to overcome any issues the bumps throw up?
LL: With the track being resurfaced two years ago, the grip has improved dramatically and the surface is now a lot smoother and more consistent, so we don’t have to alter our preparations as much as we have in the past.

QR only has 6 turns and some that are very similar on face value, does that make it any more or less challenging for Triple Eights engineering group?
QR is an interesting track, all the corners are slightly different and require attention from the car’s aero, slow and medium-speed performance and then it changes again from left to right. There may only be six corners, but you really have to cover a lot of bases for those six, and it’s incredibly important to get a well-rounded package.

It’s our home track – does that change much going into the weekend or offer any advantage?
Unfortunately not anymore, we haven’t run at Queensland Raceway for over 12 months now. The last time we were there was for the race last year, along with all the other teams. So we have no home track advantage here, really.

What do you think of the new tyre rule, offering an extra set of softs to be used during Saturday’s second sprint race?
Excellent, it takes away the gambling aspect we used to deal with at previous events, where we weren’t able to know what the tyre would do on Sunday. Now we can run it on Saturday, we know more for Sunday’s race. We prefer not to gamble when possible.

Now that you’re not going to be engineering Car #1 directly for the rest of the year, how have your race weekend duties changed from earlier in the year?
This weekend I’m back at the track and I’ll focus on helping the team and working more closely with Craig on the data side. I always make myself available to answer any questions, but at the same time I try not to interfere with the main relationship… engineer and driver! It’s not “ménage a trios” (laughs). To be fair, sometimes it can be very challenging to help without interfering.

AND SOME MORE FOOD FOR THOUGHT…

As we mentioned, we got Aaron Noonan to take a look at where the team sits in the current points race, versus the same time over the past three years. As you can see, it’s a long road ahead, but still completely within reach.

* Jamie is currently eigth in the points and 391 points behind leader Winterbottom.
* Jamie has not been this far behind after Round 6 since 2006 when he was 7th and 384 points behind leader Tander that season.
* There are 300 points available per round in the V8 Supercars Championship, so still 2400 points on the table and a long, long way to go.
* Craig is second in the championship, 248 points behind leader Winterbottom – the equivalent of nearly a full round.
* This time last year he was also 2nd in the points to Winterbottom, but only 161 points behind. Whincup was third, another 25 points behind Lowndes.
* So far this year after 6 rounds, RBRA has claimed 5 wins, 11 podiums and 5 poles.
* In 2014 after 6 rounds RBRA had claimed 8 wins, 18 podiums and 10 poles.
* In 2013 after 6 rounds RBRA had claimed 10 wins, 23 podiums and 8 poles.
* RBRA trails Pepsi Max/PRA by 317 pts in Team’s Championship coming into QLD Raceway. Actually a small margin in the overall scheme of things given there are 576 points available at each round and a total of 4608 still on the table to score!