Caterham: Conditions here give us some interesting challenges

Apr.20 (Caterham Press Release) Team report from day one of the Bahrain GP weekend

Weather
FP1: Dry, air temp 27° – 30°, track temp 35° – 40°
FP2: Dry, air temp 32° – 31°, track temp 40° – 33°

Fastest laps / positions:
FP1: KOV 1.36.330 18th / PET 1.36.484, 19th
FP2: PET 1.35.913 16th / KOV 1.35.968 17th

Total laps:
FP1: KOV 11 / PET 18
FP2: KOV 35 / PET 33

Runplan – FP1
Heikki Kovalainen
1003 – 1005: Installation, 1 lap (medium tyres)
1005 – 1042: System checks. Changes: n/a
1042 – 1053: Run 2, 6 laps (medium tyres)
1053 – 1100: Changes: rear ride height, front torsion bar, front wing flap angle
1100 – 1109: Run 3, 4 laps (medium tyres)

Vitaly Petrov
1003 – 1005: Installation, 1 lap ( tyres)
1005 – 1042: System checks. Changes: brake balance
1042 – 1058: Run 2, 9 laps (medium tyres)
1058 – 1114: Changes: rear ride height, front anti-roll bar, front wing flap angle
1114 – 1130: Run 3, 8 laps (medium tyres)

Runplan – FP2
Heikki Kovalainen
1402 – 1415: Run 1, 7 laps (medium tyres)
1415 – 1424: Changes: n/a
1424 – 1433: Run 2, 5 laps (soft tyres)
1433 – 1442: Changes: front anti-roll bar
1442 – 1504: Run 3, 12 laps (medium tyres)
1504 – 1511: Changes: front anti-roll bar, front wing flap angle
1511 – 1531: Run 4, 13 laps (soft tyres)

Vitaly Petrov
1402 – 1413: Run 1, 6 laps (medium tyres)
1413 – 1422: Changes: front wing flap angle, brake blanking
1422 – 1429: Run 2, 4 laps (soft tyres)
1429 – 1443: Changes: front wing flap angle
1443 – 1503: Run 3, 11 laps (medium tyres)
1503 – 1511: Changes: front torsion bar, front / rear ride height, front wing flap angle
1511 – 1533: Run 4, 12 laps (soft tyres)

Team Quotes

Heikki Kovalainen, car 20, chassis CT01-#3: “A good day for us in terms of the mileage we’ve covered and the amount of data we’ve collated. This morning the track wasn’t as dusty as we’d feared, so the grip levels were ok. That meant we could take a proper look at the degradation levels on the prime tyres in FP1 and it was immediately clear that the heat and the nature of this track will mean managing wear rates is going to be crucial on Sunday. Rear grip is an area we’ll have to pay particular attention to and we tried a few setup changes to try and manage that, but I think it’ll be the same for everyone.”

Vitaly Petrov, car 21, chassis CT01-#2: “It’s been a good day for us. We completed a decent number of laps in both sessions and I’ve been happy with the car all day. It’s going to be tough on the tyres on Sunday, on both compounds, but we looked pretty good on the softs on the performance run and we have a couple of changes we can try tomorrow to get the most out of the primes, so I think we’re looking good. It’s clear that degradation is going to be the biggest talking point on Sunday and I think we’ll see a lot of stops right across the field. That’ll bring strategy and pitstops into play in a big way so whatever happens it’s going to be an exciting race for the fans.”

Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 Support Leader: “The Bahrain International Circuit presents us with an interesting challenge in two main areas: how we deal with the physical conditions of the track, and how we maximise the performance of the car over the whole lap. The ambient temperatures and sandy atmosphere mean we have to work closely with the team to ensure we have the optimum cooling package on the bodywork, but the sand isn’t actually a major issue for us. We use filters that are based on our experience in desert rallying and they are the same for the whole season. We cannot change them race by race, so we have accounted for the conditions here many months before the season starts.

“Performance-wise, we have another track that requires us to have good top speed down the main straight from T14 down to T1, and make sure the drivers have good traction throughout the whole lap. We have to pay particular attention to how we configure seventh gear for the main straight as the wind direction can change between tail and head winds and that has a relatively high effect on what ratios we use.

“From what we have seen today I think we can be happy with the plans we have activated here, and we have more performance to come tomorrow, so it looks like this could be a good weekend for the team.”

Mark Smith, Technical Director: “The conditions here give us some interesting challenges for us from a technical perspective. Today our main priority has been assessing the tyre degradation rates and how we can manage those on differing fuel loads. It looks like rear tyre degradation is going to play a critical role on Sunday so the mileage we have completed today gives us a good chance to make sure we know what to expect on race day.

“We have also been looking at how we maximise the brake cooling and how we deal with brake wear. The Bahrain circuit is hard on the brakes so we need to make sure the drivers have consistent performance from the braking system, both in qualifying and on race day.

“Overall I am pleased with what we have achieved today. It is too early to tell where we are in relation to the cars ahead but I think we have got back to where we should be in relation to the cars ahead and I am confident we are in good shape for the weekend ahead.”