Marussia: We have a lot to do to get tyres to work

17 November, 2012

Nov.16 (Marussia) The Marussia F1 Team got its first taste of the Circuit of The Americas today, where F1 has been Re-‘Born in the USA’. After falling in love with downtown Austin, the first foray onto the brand new asphalt at this purpose-built facility only cemented the sport’s latest destination in the team’s affections. “Pretty cool” is the conclusion – the new ‘Cool, TX’!

The weather was also “pretty cool”, with the air temperature at just 12°C as Free Practice 1 got underway. The track temperature was a similarly cool 18°C. This conspired with a very ‘green’ track to make for a rollercoaster ride of installation laps throughout the field, and the universal conclusion was that the surface was incredibly slippery with very little grip.

Whereas the normal Friday morning programme would be for both drivers to work through a series of comprehensive aero evaluations, the team switched focus rather more to familiarisation runs in order to build confidence in the track.

Charles had a very strong morning, finishing the session ahead of both Caterhams in P18, whilst Timo was in P21. This afternoon, despite a difficult start to Free Practice 2, it was Timo who went on to take the advantage. He ended the session in 20th position, behind Kovalainen but ahead of Petrov. Charles ended the day in P22.

Timo Glock #24:
“A very difficult start to the weekend – for everyone I think! The track was very dirty this morning and in FP1 we just had to wait until it got into reasonable shape. In the end the car was quite okay but there was traffic in the last few laps and when you lose the temperature in the tyres because of that, with it being so cold at the start of the day it’s difficult to recover the time. FP2 was a little confusing as the car was just very difficult to drive in the first 15 minutes and then at the end we got a reasonable balance into the car. It’s quite difficult to get the lap together here and find the grip though; we saw a few cars going off track because of this. We ended the day with quite a bit more confidence in the car, but we need to look at the data and the new developments and see how we can move things forward for tomorrow. In light of the challenges we experienced, I’m quite happy with where we ended the session.”

Charles Pic #25:
“It has been a very interesting day, driving here at the Circuit of The Americas for the first time. It was very close to the simulation work we have done, which is always very encouraging. I like it a lot; the first sector in particular is quite exciting to drive. This morning the track was so slippery that we just had to focus on getting to know the layout and finding more grip, as both were key to improving the lap time. We made steady improvement and it was pleasing to finish the session ahead of both Caterhams. This afternoon we had a lot of work to do to get the tyres working and this was our focus with different fuel levels. Tomorrow will provide us with a clearer picture, but I’m quite happy with the first day here.”

John Booth, Team Principal:
“An unusually early start for the team this morning led into a particularly cold FP1 session, when we got our first taste of the Circuit of The Americas. We realised fairly early on that the grip level was extremely low to start off with – a combination of the low temperature at that time of day and a brand new surface – which led us to quickly modify our programme and allow the drivers more time to get used to the rather difficult track conditions. Unfortunately, this made things a little more difficult since we had some rear suspension developments which required a substantial amount of running to facilitate as much data-gathering as possible. This afternoon, in FP2, our attempts to knuckle down to that evaluation work were thwarted once again by the requirement to complete much longer runs in order to get the tyres to work in the conditions, preventing us from completing the full programme with the new suspension. However, we have collected some good data on both cars, with lighter and heavier fuel levels, and tonight we will evaluate how we implement the new developments during the rest of the weekend. Whilst the track has proved rather difficult to get to grips with, experiencing its characteristics for the first time has been quite fascinating. It offers up a good mix of high speed corners and elevation changes which certainly mark it out from the crowd amongst the newer circuits on the calendar.”

Subbed by AJN.


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