Caterham drivers report on day one of the German Grand Prix weekend at Nurburgring, Round 9 of the 2013 Formula 1 World Championship.
Charles Pic: “I said before we arrived here that this is my favourite track and I’m pleased we’ve had a good Friday here, a solid day where we’ve clearly made a bit of progress. We started FP1 with more aero work, running a couple of laps with flow-viz to continue the evaluation of the updates we brought to Silverstone and here where we have some more refinements to the brake ducts. After that we began the full programme and at the start we were having issues bringing the front tyres up to temperature. The track conditions were ok, cooler than it looks like it’ll be on Sunday, so that’ll obviously change the way the tyres behave in the race, but we worked on that on run three and made some progress in setup for tomorrow.
“Over lunch we made a couple of changes to ride height and the rear anti-roll bar and at the start of FP2 we went straight into a six lap first run and immediately found we had a better aero balance. That carried on to the performance run on the options and by then I was pretty happy with the way the car was performing. It was the same on the long runs. The pace was consistent on the options and good on the primes with pretty low deg on both and when the session finished I think everyone was quite happy with the work we did today.
“We definitely needed a clear Friday to help us catch up with the workload we had from Silverstone and back to Canada. Fridays are obviously so important and with the mileage we covered today we’ve set ourselves up well for Saturday and Sunday. Now we need to carry this momentum through to the rest of the weekend and with the race pace we have I’m really looking forward to seeing where we are on Sunday.”
Giedo van der Garde: “Overall it’s been a good day for us, starting with FP1 which was a good session. We ran a couple more aero programmes at the start and a number of new ideas across the car, including the brakes where we’ve gone for a new setup that looks like it’s working well as I was almost immediately able to brake later and harder. In general the first couple of runs were dominated by understeer so we spent a bit of time dialling that out and by the end of the session the car was behaving relatively well. One real positive from FP1 was something we tried on the rear that gave me good grip on the throttle on corner exits. This track is mostly low to medium speed corners so good traction out of them is important, so that’s something we’ll want to maintain for the whole weekend.
“For FP2 we started with a different floor, so we could run more comparison tests with the new version we had at Silverstone. The car still had a bit too much understeer but we made a couple of mechanical changes and by the time we tried the options for the first time the car was getting better and better. On the long run we had reasonable deg levels and by the end of the session I have to say I was pretty happy with where we were.
“We’ve had much better weather here than we had on Friday in Canada or Silverstone and that’s definitely helped us catch up with the aero work we needed to do. That’s given us a lot of data to work through tonight and we’ll aim to find another step tomorrow. It looks like we have some clear air to the team behind us and we’ve definitely made a bit of a gain to Williams here, so more hard work overnight and this could be a good weekend for us.” (Caterham F1)
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