Caterham team and drivers report from the first day of free practice of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, Round 6 of the 2014 Formula 1 world championship, in Monte Carlo.
Marcus Ericsson, car #9, chassis CT05-#01: “Even though I’ve raced in Monaco quite a bit before this is obviously my first time in an F1 car and I have to say I really enjoyed both sessions today. I have a very special crash helmet for Monaco to pay tribute to Ronnie Peterson who won here 40 years ago, and I have his actual helmet bag from then for this weekend – having both of those in the garage with me today was a proud moment for me in my first F1 weekend here, especially as we’re from the same town in Sweden.
“On track FP1 went well. I managed to do 40 laps in the session which meant we got through everything we’d planned and definitely improved the whole car balance from how we’d started. Like Kamui I had very low grip on the first run and poor traction so we changed the ride height and front wing angles and made a good step forwards – I still had a bit of understeer but the overall balance had improved and it was a good start to the race weekend.
“It rained heavily over lunch and when FP2 started we waited for the track to dry before heading out. As the forecasts say it’s going to be dry on Saturday and Sunday we wouldn’t have learnt much from going out on inters and didn’t want to risk anything by running on a damp track so we had to wait until almost the end of the session and then did a couple of laps on supersofts so we could start having a look at how they performed here.”
Kamui Kobayashi, car #10, chassis CT05-#02: “38 laps in FP1 meant we were able to complete a good programme and made some decent progress throughout the session. We started with a similar grip issue to what we saw in Spain, but we made a few mechanical changes and it definitely improved, particularly in the high speed sections. That also helped take out some of the understeer I had in the first couple of runs but we still needed to work on traction and managing tyre temps so we had another look at that in FP2 and also took a step forward with both of those in the second session.
“Like a few of the other teams we waited to start our FP2 runplan until there was a clear dry line which meant we had to shorten the programme a lot, but it was safer to do that than go out on inters and risk damaging the car. That’s not ideal, obviously, but with about five minutes left of the session we went out on a set of supersofts and had enough time for a couple of timed laps which gives us some data on that compound that will be useful for Saturday and Sunday.
“Even with FP2 compromised like that it’s still been quite a positive day. We’ve brought a lot of what we learnt at the test in Spain here and I’m sure that we’ll be able to put that into action on Saturday.”
Cedrik Staudohar, Renault Sport F1 track support leader: “We tried different energy management scenarios for both qualifying and the race today. In FP1 we shared the tests between the cars and then adjusted the calibrations for FP2, but unfortunately didn’t really get the opportunity to evaluate in the afternoon. Despite the lack of running we are confident we have a good compromise between quali and the race, which should allow us to run the PU to the optimum performance. All in all not such a bad session.”