Caterham drivers and team report from the first day of practice of the Austrian Grand Prix weekend, Round 8 of the 2014 Formula 1 World Championship, at Red Bull Ring;
Marcus Ericsson, car #9, chassis CT05-01: “FP1 obviously ended a lot earlier than we’d planned with an electrical system issue on lap nine. I came out of turn one and the car switched itself off, there was nothing I could do. When we got it back to the garage we found out that
the problem was related to the ERS-H control unit so that was fixed over lunch and we had the car ready again well before FP2.
“Until then I have to say I was enjoying the track. After the trackwalk we did yesterday with the engineers it was clear that the Red Bull Ring was going to be a really good challenge, and even after just eight laps I was enjoying myself! There wasn’t a lot of grip, as usual in FP1, but I was starting to find a good rhythm and carried that through to FP2.
“After limited laps in FP1 we had more work to do in FP2 than normal so we started with a 13 lap run on the Softs. I had some issues with traction and oversteer but the balance was OK, especially in the high speed corners so we made a couple of changes before heading out for the first run on the Super-softs.
“My first run on that set was OK but I still had the same traction issues as we’d started with, and oversteer in the low and medium speed corners. I also had traffic in the last two corners on my fastest lap which cost me a chunk of time, but the main area we needed to look at was the oversteer that was hurting laptime, mainly mid-corner.
“We continued with the runplan and went onto the first long run of the weekend. I started on the Softs and had pretty good deg on that set – they were holding up well, as were the Super-softs which we went onto after a stop.
“Overall it was an OK afternoon, definitely better than the morning, but we have a lot to do tonight to sort out the oversteer and find more grip, but we’ve been pretty good at finding improvements from Friday to Saturday this year so the aim is to do so again here.”
Kamui Kobayashi, car #10, chassis CT05-02: “We completed 24 laps in FP1 and even though a bit of rain did interrupt the session we were still able to work through the plan – obviously something that’s really important normally, but even more so on a new track like this.
“It’s a good circuit to drive on, particularly the double-left through five and six, and the last couple of corners onto the start / finish straight, but what we still don’t know a lot about yet is how the tyres will behave when the track temps warm up. Today the weather was cooler than it’s forecast to be for Saturday and Sunday so we’ll have to do more work on that in FP3.
“In FP2 the car was immediately better after the setup changes we made over lunch, especially on braking. On the first run the traction had improved, the car had more grip and even though there was some understeer it was a good step from FP1.
“We went onto Super-softs for the first performance run, and then the long run, starting on the same compound. I found six-tenths on that set in the performance run but it was a bit weird – the grip levels felt the same as the Softs and even though I wasn’t expecting a massive step, it was still a bit strange that there wasn’t more grip. We’ll look at that properly tonight and maybe increased track temperatures will help – we’ll see tomorrow.
“We started the long run on Super-softs and I was up to lap ten of that first stint when I started feeling the car pull right under braking. It didn’t feel right so we boxed so the guys could take a look to see if there were any problems – there wasn’t anything obvious, and the data didn’t point to anything specific but we decided to end the session with about 15 minutes left so we could have proper inspection and avoid any issues on track.”
Cedrik Staudohar, Renault Sport F1 track support leader: “All in all a pretty good day for us with a lot of data to analyse tonight. The main focus was to evaluate engine settings to compensate for the high altitude and prevent the turbo reaching its maximum speed and coming under undue pressure. We completed a couple of tests on track that will be beneficial for tomorrow when we expect the ambient temperatures to increase, and therefore the turbo rotation speed as well. On Kamui’s car everything worked well but we had an issue on Marcus’ car with the control unit for the ERS-H this morning, which caused the car to stop on track. We changed both the CU-H and the ES and were able to run without any further issues in the afternoon.”