Trulli bogged by reliability issues
Team Lotus driver Heikki Kovalainen was happy with his Friday practice session as his car was well balanced right out of the box. Teammate Jarno Trulli meanwhile endured several reliability issues but found the power steering modifications a step forward.
"I'm pretty pleased with how my afternoon went. You're always a little bit on the back foot when you miss the morning session at this kind of high speed circuit as you need a bit of time to get your eye in, but the balance was good almost immediately and we were able to complete the whole plan, so it was a good session. The tyres seem to be behaving well here - on the long run on the softs they held up until about the last lap so I think we've already found a good setup. As the track evolves that will improve even more so I think we could be in a good position in the race, bearing in mind our race pace and how well we can manage the degradation on both compounds. We'll see on Sunday!"
"It was good to get back out on track, particularly here in Suzuka as this is a circuit I haven't driven on before and was looking forward to trying out. It took a while to get the right lines, and as the tyre wear started to kick in I wasn't really able to improve the overall time, although I was getting quicker in certain sectors of the track. I got through a decent number of laps and think I did exactly what was required of me this morning. The car definitely feels quicker than it did when I raced it in Germany - the update we brought to Singapore has definitely taken us a small step forward and we finished pretty close to the Williams, so I think we'll be able to fight in the race and hopefully put in as good a performance as we did here last year."
"One of those stop start days for me. This morning I was adapting to the power steering system we've put on here and it felt ok but the runs were cut short with a mechanical issue before I could really start pushing. This afternoon the changes we made definitely felt better but when we had the soft tyres on an electrical problem meant I couldn't get any meaningful times in. Despite that the car felt like it was improving and looking at Heikki's times I think we'll be ok tomorrow."
Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 Support Leader:
"This is a pretty tough circuit on engines - up there with Monza and Spa in terms of outright pace and we need to work on driveability, responsiveness and ensuring a smooth power curve to give the drivers the right power delivery here. This morning Karun worked through his program, and even though Jarno's was somewhat disrupted, we have been able to complete most of the program with him and Heikki this afternoon, so I think we look ok for the rest of the weekend."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer:
"A reasonable Friday for us here in Suzuka. This morning we had Karun in Heikki's car and he did a very solid job for, focusing on aero programs and engine mapping. Jarno was less happy with his car, struggling a bit with the balance and the brakes, but we made a number of changes for this afternoon and they made an immediate improvement for him in FP2. Unfortunately an electrical problem brought his afternoon to an earlier end than we wanted, preventing him from setting any quick times on the soft tyres, but with Heikki we completed his whole plan and his time on the softs looks pretty good. This weekend will be all about managing tyre degradation and when that is the case it seems to benefit us so we are all looking forward to a strong weekend."
Riad Asmat, Group CEO:
"I think we can be pretty pleased with today. Karun performed very well this morning on a track he had never driven on before, and Heikki put in a series of strong runs this afternoon that is just starting to unlock what we think we can do here. Jarno suffered issues in both the morning and afternoon sessions, but we improved the overall balance for him in FP2 and with more work tonight and some clever use of strategy tomorrow I think we can push the cars ahead, particularly bearing in mind the limited running some of the teams just in front had today."