Caterham fail to find right balance

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Canada, Circuit Gilles Villeneuveca

After Alexander Rossi was given his chance to drive in FP1 for Caterham, Pic was back in the car, along with team mate van der Garde to start with setting up the car through FP2. Neither of them however have yet found set up that creates a well balanced car.

Alexander Rossi: “It was great to get back into F1 action and to do so in Canada, at a track I’ve raced and won at in the past in Formula BMW, was a good feeling. We’ve been keeping an eye on the weather forecasts for the last week, so we knew it was going to be wet, but it was still good experience to run on wets, inters and slicks, giving me the chance to try out the full range of tyres that I haven’t driven before in F1. After the installation lap I wanted to go straight back out again as, for me, moving up from GP2 grip levels to F1, even though the track was wet to start with, there was still so much more grip than I’m used to that I wanted to get on with it, but the main thing today was working to the plan and that’s exactly what we did.

“Now it’s straight back to Europe for the next ‘first’ for me this year, Le Mans. The plan is all focused on F1 but I’m excited about adding endurance racing to my CV and I’m with an experienced team, with a number of people from Caterham who I know and have already worked with, so I know we can put in a good performance. It’s another learning curve, but, like today in the wet / dry conditions, I know how to adapt to what’s in front of me and that’ll come in very handy for my Le Mans experience.”

Charles Pic: “I’m reasonably pleased with how FP2 went. On my first run the car had too much understeer so we tried a couple of aero and mechanical changes for the next runs and by run four, on the supersofts, we’d found a good balance, one I could start to push with. We might have gone a little too far on the front as the car was turning in well by the last run, but we lost a bit of mid-corner stability so we’ll have to look at that tonight and see where we can improve tomorrow. On the long runs the deg levels and pace looked ok on both compounds but Sunday’s going to be hotter than either Friday or Saturday, which will suit us more, so even if we don’t find another good step before Sunday, I think we can maintain the race pace we’ve shown since Bahrain.”

Giedo van der Garde: “FP1 was a bit like being back in Monaco! Wet to start with, then onto inters and then slicks and I have to say it was pretty good to be driving out there in conditions that kept changing.

“Both sessions for me were dominated by understeer, but towards the end of FP2 we’d found a really good setup on the long runs. I didn’t have a clean go at the performance run, but on both compounds on heavy fuel I was really enjoying driving the car. There was a bit of power understeer coming in but it wasn’t really damaging the tyres too much so it looks like we’ve found a good direction for Sunday.

“We also tried our new traffic light pitstop system for the first time today and that’s another good sign of how the whole team keeps making progress. In the last couple of races I’ve been able to show how much more confidence I have in the car and my own performance, and, as a rookie, when you see the team investing in something like the traffic light system, something that will help us perform even better in the races, it all adds to the confidence levels. Bearing in mind it’s the first time we’ve ever used it the system worked really well, and talking to the boys, it’s clear they’re pumped about having something that can help them perform better on race day – it all makes this a good place to be working right now!”


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