Caterham: We are heading in the right direction

Jul.20 (Caterham Press Release) Team and drivers report on the first practice day of the German Grand Prix weekend, Round 10 of the 2012 F1 world championship, at Hockenheim.

Team Quotes

Heikki Kovalainen, car 20, chassis CT01-#3: “We completed a decent mileage today but I think we still have quite a bit of work to do, mainly on finding grip. The conditions in FP1 were good to start off with and we managed to get through most of the aero programme we’d set, including a couple of very slow single lap runs on dry tyres when it was getting pretty wet! In FP2 we started on the full wets for the first run, then went onto the inters but we still couldn’t quite find a really good balance. We’ll look at that tonight and make sure we can push on tomorrow in FP3 and qualifying.”

Vitaly Petrov, car 21, chassis CT01-#2: “I’m pretty pleased with how today’s gone. In conditions like we had in both sessions one of the main things is to make sure you don’t make any mistakes, and we had a big programme for both FP1 and FP2 and it was important to make sure we go through them with no problems.

“Inside the car we tried a few setup changes to help dial out the understeer, and on the dry tyres in the morning session we were definitely going in the right direction as the session ended. In the afternoon we tried a few things on both the wets and the inters and, again, made progress, but we have a lot more to come.”

Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 Support Leader: “This is our first visit to Hockenheim with Caterham but we obviously have a great deal of experience at this track from the last race here in 2010. Hockenheim has a couple of interesting challenges for us, specifically looking at how we can give the drivers maximum top speed down the long straight, which is one of the longest of the season, and make sure their fuel consumption is managed effectively. This track is heavy on fuel consumption so the cars will start this race with one of the highest fuel loads of the season and we have to take that into account in conjunction with the team, particularly when looking at tyre degradation.

“In addition, we have been continuing to work today on fine tuning the engine maps with the revised exhaust layout the team first brought to Silverstone. For Hockenheim we need to make sure the drivers have good torque response, especially in the stadium section, and that has been a focus area for us today. We have had a good day on that front – the mileage we completed gives us a very reasonable amount of data to work through so this has been a positive day.”

Mark Smith, Technical Director: “FP1 was a good session for us on both cars. We wanted as much dry running as we could today to continue the aero work we were doing on Wednesday in France at the straightline test and we had dry running for most of the session. Both Heikki and Vitaly completed 24 laps each and we were able to run through the whole program we had set out for that session. FP2 started with rain that was heavy enough to keep most of the field in the garages but once it had eased off a little we sent the cars out on the full wets to start the FP2 program.

“We have a couple of minor modifications to the package we introduced in Silverstone and tonight we will be focusing on what they have added, what we can take from the data from both sessions and what can be applied for the rest of the weekend. Fundamentally we are heading in the right direction, giving the drivers the aero balance they need to be able to push and the downforce that is required to compete with the cars ahead. We still have a lot of work to do but I am reasonably optimistic that both the races in Germany and Hungary will see us return to the levels of competitiveness we have targeted for races 10 and 11.”