Caterham drivers and team report from the first day of free practice of the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, Round 3 of the 2014 Formula 1 World Championship, at Sakhir;
Robin Frijns, car #46, chassis CT05-03: “It was good to get my first FP1 done, and especially good for the team that we had our first problem free First Practice session of the season so far. 35 laps is exactly what we’d targeted and we completed a program that was all about preparing for Sunday, working with Renault on the Power Unit and not really looking at times.
“The car felt better balanced than the last time I drove it here in Bahrain in the pre-season test, and it’s clear that Renault have made a lot of progress since then – we showed in last week’s race in Malaysia that our race pace is strong and I think that the work we’ve done today will help us build on that in Sunday’s race. There’s clearly performance to come from optimising the setup and more work with Renault, but I’ve done my bit today and I’m happy with what we did.
“I’m back in the car again on Tuesday for the first day of the test when we’re working with Pirelli, and if we can have similar reliability then I think we can help them and us make some more good progress.”
Marcus Ericsson, car #9, chassis CT05-01: “FP1 was OK – we started with a rear wing change to look at some data from that, and then got stuck into the full program that was used mainly to prepare for the race. Throughout the session we kept improving the driveability of the Power Unit, and, balance-wise, we started with too much oversteer in the high speed corner, and understeer in the lows, but we made a couple of changes to the ride height and a few other mechanical setup changes, and by the end of the session we were heading in the right direction.
“For FP2 we made a few more changes to the setup and the initial feeling was that there was more grip overall, especially in the high speed sections where the balance was OK, but I was having power issues throughout most of the first run which meant that I wasn’t really able to push. The power was coming in and out in a way that wasn’t really predictable, so I didn’t know what was going to happen when I got on the throttle coming out of each corner – unfortunately I didn’t get one lap without that issue so the final laptimes really weren’t a clear guide to where we are performance-wise, but we’ll look at that in detail tonight.
“We finished with a long run which started on the Softs. The deg levels were pretty good but with the same power issue I wasn’t really able to push, but with about five minutes left of the session I was told to stop the car as we had a Power Unit problem. Renault will look at that and thankfully it happened at the end of the session so, overall the main thing is we’ve finally had a better Friday and that means we’re in a better position after FP1 and FP2 than we’ve been all season. We have a lot to do tonight, but I’m feeling better about the rest of the weekend than I did in Australia or last week in Malaysia, so now the aim is to build on the mileage we put in today and make some real progress tomorrow.”
Kamui Kobayashi, car #10, chassis CT05-03: “After sitting out FP1 I was keen to get back in the car, especially with the better reliability we had in the first session which will help us much more over the rest of the weekend. The car felt OK but we had understeer in both the low and high speed turns so we tried a different front anti-roll bar for run two and there was a small improvement, but there was more front locking so I couldn’t really attack into the braking zones.
“On the Softs the car felt better, but it was very snappy on power [but] on my first quick lap on the Softs I had traffic and I had to lift for yellows in turn four, and then again the next time I went for a quick lap so I think with a clean run there was quite a few tenths left in the car, but we didn’t have a chance to improve that as we went onto the long run for the final stint, starting on the Mediums. That went OKand we finished Friday with a good number of laps for the first time for me this year. The normal long Friday night is now ahead and I’m sure we’ll make some progress tomorrow.”
Cedrik Staudohar, Renault Sport F1 track support leader: “We covered a lot of miles with both cars, which is very important for the rest of the weekend. Conditions here are very different from testing, with the later session taking place after dark. It doesn’t affect [engine software] maps but we pay particular attention to cooling and internal temperatures since the requirements are very different. Everything worked fine with Kamui’s car and we were able to run through our programme and collect a lot of information. On Marcus’ car we had a couple of issues – In FP1 we picked up an ERS problem but were able to fix that in the garage and get out relatively quickly. Then in the afternoon we found an issue with the MGU-K overheating in the last few minutes of FP2 so we stopped on track to avoid further problems. We’ll change both parts for tomorrow to aim for a clean day.”
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