Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado started the build up to the Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom by spending most of the day sheltered from the rain, with only 18 laps completed by the team.
Few things were learnt today, although a diesel spill got the day started and revealed that diesel is slippery when spilt on a track.
Jolyon and Pastor were the duo forced to wait half an hour for the spill to be cleared, before running for an hour in wet conditions.
Only a shakedown and a handful of laps could be gathered by the team in the opener, with Jolyon and Pastor each running for 9 laps.
Soft and intermediate tyres were used by the pair, providing little data in a hindered session.
“It was good to get a taste of the Sochi Autodrom in a Formula 1 car even if our session was disrupted,” said Jolyon. “It was certainly pretty difficult conditions for the laps we did do but nevertheless it was valuable for me.”
After handing the E23 back to Romain, the Frenchman spent the second session as a spectator alongside Pastor as the team opted not to run.
“I learnt very little today, except that it’s nice to have a warm and well catered hospitality building,” said Romain. “For the morning I was a spectator, then in the afternoon the weather meant I was a spectator too.”
Pastor had slightly more running than his team-mate and despite the desire to drive, felt opting not to run was correct.
“There’s not a lot to say really, days like this limit running,” he said. “The forecast looks better for tomorrow so there’s no point risking the cars today. As a driver you always want to be out on track and it’s a good track here as it’s very technical. It’s a particular track surface, it’s not as simple as it looks, so it made our decision for us and I agree with it.”
“Tomorrow will be busy and it was the same in Japan, we’ll split the plans on the two cars and try to get as much info as we can.”
Romain echoed Pastor’s sentiments, and explained why tomorrow will be so busy.
“I think we’re at a point where things are well set up so I can miss a session but it is what it is weather wise,” he said. “The hard part is for the engineers who don’t have the base marks for brakes, fuel etc so that makes some things challenging. It’s a newer track too so that also makes it a more busy day.”
Trackside Operations Director Alan Permane considered the day a “write-off” and expects the team to make up for lost time in tomorrow’s final practice session.
“Today was pretty much a write-off except for being able to shakedown the cars and get a handful of laps in the morning,” he said. “It’s the same circumstances for everyone, so we can expect pretty full workloads for FP3 ahead of Saturday’s qualifying.”