Key practice points:
Shanghai welcomes F1 for the 11th Chinese Grand Prix this weekend.
Cool conditions for both free practice sessions.
Progress made in Bahrain test confirmed today.
Trouble-free sessions allow teams to concentrate on performance; Infiniti Red Bull Racing finish fourth and fifth in FP2. Lotus F1 Team ninth with Romain Grosjean in FP2, solid day of work for both Scuderia Toro Rosso and Caterham F1 Team
Rémi Taffin, head of track operations:
‘The test in Bahrain was very useful and we have consolidated our findings here today.’
The cold temperature has made things a bit more interesting. Even though lower temps do not change engine settings and fuel consumption this year, unlike with the V8s, it does make the cars move around a lot more, particularly with the harder tyre compound. As a result we have to make minor adjustments to give more traction, but with enough flexibility to adapt to the evolving conditions.
The progress made back in the dynos at Viry, which was then corroborated on track at the test in Bahrain, has proved to be very useful and we appear to have consolidated our findings here today, allowing the teams to fully focus on their own run plans. Thanks to the software upgrades and some performance items, on a power sensitive track we are losing a lot less to the fastest cars. While it’s still a way off it does show we are going in the right direction. Likewise, the improvements in energy management and energy recovery have been well applied here and we’ve noticed an improvement in traction and grip, particularly in the slow corners such as T1 and the hairpins.
Overall it’s been a productive day that has confirmed some steps forward. There are obviously still some more to come but from the longer runs conducted today we expect to be closer in race trim, which is what counts for points after all.