26 September 2015
DANIEL RICCIARDO, Position: 7, (3rd Practice – 3, 1:34.497)
“Firstly, the most important thing is that Dany is okay. I haven’t seen a replay; I only saw the car when I passed it but the team was on the radio to let me know he was fine. As for today’s session, in general it went reasonably well. I don’t think seventh shows how happy I was with the car, because I thought we were on for a top five, but we’re still in a good place for tomorrow. We’re also in a good place for tyre wear, so we’ll see what happens. Strategy is open for the race, it’s possible to do one stop but two stops will probably be the trend.”
DANIIL KVYAT, Position: 10*, (3rd Practice – 14, 1:36.294)
“I’ve never rolled a racing car before and they say there’s a first time for everything. I’m feeling more disappointment than pain. I put two wheels on the grass and there was not much run off area at that point so it put me straight into the wall. I was pushing hard after a messy FP3 and this is the consequence of going over the limit. The car looks really bad and I’m sorry for the guys who have already had a tough couple of weeks and now they have even more work to do. Where would I have finished? I don’t know, but it should have been looking better than P10, because the car felt good in the fast sections, even though we lack the speed in a straight line. Tomorrow, we will try our best as usual.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER: “The most important thing today is that Dany is alright after what was a very big accident in Q3. It’s a testament to the strength of these cars and shows why safety is always our priority in this sport. Clearly, we will have a very long night producing a car for him to race tomorrow. He will have to start from pit lane and has nothing to lose so he will be running an aggressive race. As for Daniel, he was looking strong, but his final quick lap was affected by the red flag. He starts from the clean side of the track tomorrow, which is important at this circuit and there’s no reason why he can’t aim for a good points finish from the fourth row of the grid. In common with all the teams, we had a busy morning session, trying to cram in all the dry weather work into a single hour after yesterday’s rain.”
*Car 26 will start from pit lane
Pursuit of Performance
No.6: Jun Baba
The race team may be flat out trying to squeeze the last bit of performance out of the RB11 but back at base, the design team are already looking ahead to 2016 and the RB12. Future Car Chief Designer, Jun Baba, explains that even though we’re heading towards the third season with the current regulations, finding improvements is as big a challenge as ever.
Given that the regulations are pretty stable from this year to next, everything we have learned over this year will feed into next year’s design, from tyres to aero, stiffness of the car, the drivers’ requirements.
And even though it may seem that we have struggled for performance this season compared to last, there has been a definite improvement in many areas of the car. For example, when we went into testing at the beginning of this year, every single mechanic told me that this year’s car is much, much easier to work on. That in turn means it’s easier to build in reliability, which then means that it’s easier to find performance, because you can concentrate on improvements and achieving the best set-up rather than trouble-shooting.
I would say that at the moment we’re at a relatively early stage of the design process with the new car, and in some ways this is the most rewarding phase, as it’s the period during which you can explore a lot more design ideas, for me that’s where the biggest satisfaction comes from.
The 2016 season starts a month later than normal, so as usual we’ll push the time frame as hard as we can in order to get as many opportunities as possible to explore different concepts. Despite the fact that 2016 will be the third season with relatively stable regulations there’s no way that as a designer you can conclude that you have got the best out of the regulations. Every year, every day you will definitely find some improvement, be it small or big.
Having said that, finding that performance is never easy. Two seasons with this generation of cars means we have developed a good level of understanding, so identifying the area on which you want to work on is easier but on the other hand a lot of the big steps have already been made so it becomes a lot harder to find an advantage.
It’s a pretty intense period and the pressure is on because if you go in the wrong direction you will pay the price. But that’s the challenge and it’s what makes the job enjoyable. We’ll be busy right up until the day of the launch and then we’ll really get to see the results of all the hard work and that’s always an exciting prospect.