Heikki Kovalainen was again behind the wheel of the Caterham CT03 during FP1 in an attempt to use his experience to develop the car. The Finn was pleased while the race drivers are a bit more cautious to make any early conclusions.
Heikki Kovalainen: "For me that was a pretty good session, even though we lost quite a bit of time with a mechanical issue. Once that was fixed we got on with the program and ended up only losing one run and as FP1 started with a wet track everyone else was limiting their track time as well, so the relative loss was minimal. In the session we were mainly working through back-to-back comparisons of some of the new parts we've brought here and it was good to see that the car generally felt much better than the one I drove in Bahrain. The balance has been improved, especially mid-corner and in both low and high speed turns, so it's easier to push, but with so few dry laps today it's too early to tell how much we've gained from the package we have for this race. The rest of the weekend is supposed to be better weather so we'll learn more about how to get the most out of the new parts in FP2 and FP3, but we'll only really find out where we are, and where everyone else is, on Saturday afternoon and on Sunday."
Charles Pic: "Having sat out FP1 I was looking forward to trying out the new parts in FP2. On the first couple of runs the car had too much understeer in the low and medium speed corners so we made a couple of mechanical adjustments and the balance started to improve on runs three and four. Tyre degradation was also not too bad on either compound, but we have more work to do on bringing the tyres up to temperature so we can get them working efficiently as soon as possible. We'll look at that tonight, and how we can optimise the setup with the range of new parts we have here to improve the overall balance as we have quite a lot of time to come from that, and then we'll aim to pick up where we finished in Bahrain."
Giedo van der Garde: "With Friday morning's weather we didn't get as many laps done as we'd like in FP1, but I was still happy with how the car felt with the new parts on it. We didn't have KERS for the session which obviously knocks off about 3/10ths a lap, but we were focusing on testing the new parts so even though the times were ok it was more important to gather as much data as possible.
"In the afternoon session we carried on with evaluation of the update package and we definitely made more progress. The car had good balance on the medium tyres, both on short and long runs, and I think we showed quite good pace on that compound and on the hards but we need to work on the car's behaviour on the entry into corners. Against that is the fact that the car has much better traction out of the corners and that's a really positive sign. Now we have the normal late Friday ahead of us and we'll be focusing on improving the setup generally so we can attack quali as hard as possible, and put us in good shape for the race on Sunday."