Caterham drivers report on day one of the United States GP weekend

Alexander Rossi

Alexander Rossi

Drivers report from the opening day of free practice for the United States Grand Prix, Round 18 of the Formula 1 World Championship, at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Alexander Rossi: “I’m very pleased with how my FP1 session went, both for me and for the team. It was a proud moment when I drove out on track as the first American driver to take part in an official F1 race weekend session at COTA, something that will live with me for ever and an accolade I want to thank the team for, and everyone’s who’s backed me to help make [this] happen here in Austin. It’s obviously a bit of a shame the session was cut short by the issues with the helicopter, but the team worked really hard to make sure we could still run a decent number of laps, and by the end of the session we were only a few laps short of what we’d planned.

“In the car the balance was pretty good right from the start of the session. With the cold track temperatures we knew we’d have issues with tyre warm-up and that was definitely the case on the first two runs, but on run three it had improved a bit, both because the temperatures had gone up and with a couple of setup changes we’d made. I was mostly dealing with understeer throughout the session but I’m sure, with more time, it’s something we’d have been able to sort out and I think my final laptime showed pretty clearly that it wasn’t holding me back.”

Charles Pic: “We obviously had to wait quite a bit for the session to start which cut into our runplan but by the end of the session we’d still completed 19 laps which was quite close to the target, but it still didn’t really help us sort out the understeer that dominated the session. The low track temperatures didn’t help, but on all three runs the car had very little front grip and it was understeering everywhere, obviously meaning [that] I couldn’t push anywhere around the lap.

“For FP2 we made quite a few changes to the car and it was immediately better – we made a good step with the work we did over lunch and I could immediately push much more than the morning session. We started with the Hard tyres and then went onto Options for run two and with a bit more front wing added the grip improved in the low and medium speed corners, not so much in the high speeds, but overall it was another improvement.

“On the long run we started on the hards and went onto options after 15 laps. They both held up pretty well and the times were pretty competitive with the cars ahead, something we also saw in Abu Dhabi. We’ve completed a lot of laps today so we have a good amount of data to work on tonight and now the aim is to continue to progress tomorrow.” 

Giedo van der Garde: “This is my first time driving this track so overall I’m pretty pleased with how close I ended up to my teammate, and the fact that we completed a good number of laps in FP2. I was comfortable with the track from early in the session and because I’d sat out FP1 we ran a slightly different runplan for the afternoon than normal – two runs on primes, a performance run on options and then the long run, also on the options.

“On the first run I had the same sort of understeer Charles had said his car had in FP1 – not as bad but still not something I was happy with. We added a bit of front wing which helped a little but on run two the car was behaving a bit strangely, not like it has all year. I just couldn’t carry any speed into the corners and even though my quickest lap time on the mediums was ok there was definitely time to be found.

“We finished with a long run on the mediums but we still had the same understeer issue throughout the run. We’ll have a proper look at that tonight and I’m sure we’ll sort it for tomorrow.”

Subbed by AJN.

  • ZombieJebus

    Rossi > Pic.