Renault F1 Sport review the opening day of the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend, Round 2 of the 2014 Formula 1 world championship, at Sepang International Circuit:
Key practice points:
- The opening day of practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix got underway today with two 90 minute sessions.
- Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel recorded the third quickest time of the day, 0.061secs from the fastest time, with Daniel Ricciardo in the top ten.
- Scuderia Toro Rosso complete just under two race distances over two sessions, on the pace of the top ten.
- The top 12 cars in FP2 were separated by just one second.
- It was a solid day for Marcus Ericsson at Caterham F1 Team but Kamui Kobayashi conducted only limited running.
- Lotus F1 Team lost time with a variety of powertrain issues.
Rémi Taffin, head of track operations:
We came here with a substantial job list and we have been able to run through a lot of items and validate some of the software and hardware upgrades put in place after Australia. In many respects we have seen improvements, with competitive times from the Red Bulls and Toro Rossos and a high lap count from those two teams. There are still further improvements in the pipeline to allow the drivers to get closer to the full potential of the cars, but this first wave seems to be working well.
Aside from this, there are the very unique challenges of Sepang we have had to address. Cooling in the very high temperatures is incredibly important so we have tried different solutions to keep temperatures in check. One way to maximize the speed is to keep the charged air temperature in the ICE down, so it has been a key factor across all teams today.
We have however encountered some new issues, which we need to study and eliminate for tomorrow. At Caterham Kamui Kobayashi’s energy store developed a fault and we needed to change [it] after just a handful of laps. We were ready to go for FP2 but then the chassis team picked up a leak from the clutch so he lost further time. Marcus had a better day but he could not set a perfect lap due to a reported software glitch that affected driveability.
Yet again Lotus had a very difficult day with again very limited running. In the morning we suffered some mapping problems on Romain’s car and then Pastor stopped with engine and turbo related issues. This put him out of FP2 as we changed the PU. Romain was able to do more laps but is still suffering with poor driveability, and then had a raft of gearbox problems. We are putting a lot of energy into improving.
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