Caterham: There’s definitely more to come from the softer rubber

Drivers review the first day of free practice for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.

Heikki Kovalainen: “It felt good to be back in the car and I’m pleased to see how it’s developed since I last drove it in Barcelona. The whole package feels better balanced and generally it’s a good overall improvement behind the wheel. There’s a few things I could tell right away that are better – in general the ride has improved, there’s much less pitching and the front in particular feels stronger. Against that, the braking stability doesn’t feel great today, but that’s something that can be worked on pretty simply in FP2. Overall I’m pleased I had more time in the car and can continue to help the team [to] progress.”

Charles Pic: “We went straight out in FP2 on the hard tyres and the car was ok but the main issue on run one was mid-to exit oversteer. We made a couple of mechanical changes for the second run but still had the oversteer issue but with more changes it had improved slightly for run three when we put the medium tyres on for the first time. The car was  calmer on mid-to-exit but we [then] found [that] we had some issues on entry into the corners so for the long run we put on a bit more front wing and it did feel like we made some progress. We still need to make more improvements to the stability of the car on entry into the corners, but we can look at that more tonight, as well as keeping an eye on the weather forecast for tomorrow and even more for Sunday.”

Giedo van der Garde: “FP1 was a good start to the weekend. We did the installation lap on wets but for run one we went onto inters but the track was drying out pretty quickly so they didn’t last too long at all. It looks like quali and the race could both have similar weather conditions to FP1 so it’s good to have that information logged, but then we went onto the hard dry tyres for run two, giving us more information that the engineers can work on tonight. In FP2 the weather had improved from the morning session but the car didn’t feel great on the first run. We had a lot of oversteer on run one and not great traction so we made a change and went out for run two on the Medium tyres. The first run on those was ok but we weren’t really able to get everything out of the softer rubber so there’s definitely more to come from the softer rubber. On the long run on the Mediums the car felt pretty good, deg levels were ok but then in turn 15 the back end got loose and I unfortunately made contact with the barrier, ending the session. We’re not sure why that happened yet but we’ll have a look at the data and investigate more tonight. Hopefully there’s a lot more to come, so a usual busy Friday night and I think we can make progress tomorrow.” (Caterham)

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