Heikki Kovalainen ran for the team in first practice, replacing Giedo van der Garde. The Finn finished the session in 21st place and completed 21 laps. He said that his main problem was braking stability but he also struggled with understeer in the high speed sections.
Pic finished 19th in first practice after 24 laps of running and 20th in second practice after 37 laps. Speaking in a statement after practice he said: “FP1 went okay. The car balance was good right from the installation lap and the rest of the session went to plan. We were mainly working on mechanical setup options and running downforce scans so the times weren’t really important, but it was still good to see that the gap to the teams ahead is around where we’d predicted.”
However he felt that changes made over the lunch break made the car feel worse: “In FP2 we started with an eight lap run on the hards but it felt like the changes we made over lunch had a negative impact on the car balance, increasing mid-sector understeer and entry stability in particular. We made a couple of mechanical changes and then went out on the mediums for the first time but the car felt very different from the morning session, the balance wasn’t as good and there was more understeer so we definitely didn’t get the time we could have from that set.
“On the long runs the car balance was again not consistent. However, we have accumulated a decent amount of laps and have a lot of data to work on tonight so we’ll keep working and come back stronger tomorrow.”
Meanwhile Giedo van der Garde ran in the car for the first time in second practice. Discussing the session he said: “On the first run my times were okay but the traction wasn’t great and I needed a bit more time to find the best line in sector one. On run two we made a bit of progress and then we went for the first run on the medium tyres which, honestly, was strange.
“The grip you’d expect from a new set of options just wasn’t there – the car balance was fine, but we didn’t find the time we should have found from the options so we’ll have to look at that in detail tonight. On the long runs the pace was okay, as was the deg levels, but we definitely need to look at how we manage tyre warm-up and make sure we have options to fix the grip issue with the options, especially for qualifying.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic