The Japanese driver was confirmed as one of the Leafield-based outfit’s race drivers last week, partnering GP2 race winner Marcus Ericsson. He completed 54 laps behind the wheel of the CT05 on Friday but his running was cut short due to a power-unit problem.
“My first day in the car may have ended earlier than we’d planned after another problem with the Renault engine, but, from where we’ve been earlier this week, it’s very good to have completed 54 laps,” he said.
“For me, it was also good to be back in an F1 car and to be working with a team that I’m already feeling very happy with. In the morning we started on a very damp track so we were on full wets until about 1030 when we went onto inters as the track was starting to dry. We were working through a number of different engine maps and were definitely making progress but just after lunch we had another engine problem which meant we had to stop.
“We were going to try some longer runs in the afternoon, and I’m sure we’d have made more progress, but now we’ll go back to the factory to work through all the information from this test and aim to build on our better last day here when we get to Bahrain.”
Caterham team principal Cyril Abiteboul said the team still has a lot of work to do, with a lot of the focus on Renault after a number of issues with its V6 Turbo engine: “I’m pleased for the whole team that we managed to finish the test with a more decent number of laps today, but there is still clearly a lot of work to do to prepare for the next test.
“Obviously a lot of the focus is on Renault, and it is imperative that they make significant progress on all areas of engine performance and reliability, but we are in partnership with them and we will work as closely as we always have to help them find solutions and deliver the package we know they can on track.”
Looking ahead to the second test in Bahrain, he added: “Now we have just over two weeks to prepare for the Bahrain tests and everyone is ready for the work that lies ahead. Our 60% scale wind-tunnel program at TMG in Cologne also started on Tuesday, the first day on track in Spain, and that’s a big plus for us as we look to develop CT05 now and throughout the season to come.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic