Caterham drivers report from the first day practice in Abu Dhabi

Heikki Kovalainen

Heikki Kovalainen

Drivers and team report from the first day of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend, Round 17 of the 2013 Formula 1 World Championship, at Yas Marina Circuit.

Driver quotes

Heikki Kovalainen: “Generally the car was a bit on the nose to start with. Under braking and turning in it was on a bit of a knife edge and the tyres started going off quite early so that contributed to the handling issue, but we made a few changes and by the third run of the day we’d made some good progress with the balance. It was pretty neutral by the end of the session but the tyres had completely gone by then so we weren’t learning too much more, but overall a decent session and good to contribute again this weekend to help the team in Abu Dhabi.”

Charles Pic: “FP1 was all about trying to turn down how strong the front of the car was, particularly on turn-in to the corners. The aero balance was pretty good but the car was too pointy for me on each run and even though we improved the rear I didn’t have a balance I was really happy with for the whole session

“In FP2 the temperatures were obviously lower than FP1 and the balance wasn’t as good as it had been in FP1. I was also struggling to get temperature into the front tyres so we had a look at that on the performance run as the conditions are obviously much more like they will be in quali in FP2. On the run on options they came up to temperature much faster, the fronts were actually easy to warm up but the balance overall was still a bit on the understeer side, especially on entry and mid-corner. We added more front wing for the long run but I still had issues with the front warm up. Overall the car was understeering and I had some issues with braking stability so we’ll look at that in detail tonight and aim to fix it for tomorrow.”

Giedo van der Garde: “I was back in the car for FP2 and it felt pretty good right from the first run. The rears were locking a bit too much and the car wasn’t planted [at] high speeds but overall it was OK. I did a couple of runs on the Mediums to begin with, then onto the Softs for the performance run and I have to say the car felt pretty generally stable. We did have a bit of rear locking under braking and I would have like a bit more front end, but we made a few changes for the run on the Softs and it was feeling good – my quickest lap was OK but I know there’s more to come for quali, especially if we can improve the front end.

“On the long run I stayed on the Options. The front tyres were cooling a lot which created understeer, but by the end of the run they were starting to come back. The rears were very consistent throughout the run so that gives us some interesting strategy options for the race. I haven’t tried the Primes on a long run yet but Charles has, so we’ll see what his data says tonight and then we can progress tomorrow.”

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