Caterham hopeful KERS will boost race pace

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Caterham might have hoped for more during today's qualifying for the Australian GP, but in the end they are reasonably happy with the result. Heikki Kovalainen got held up on his final run, while Vitaly Petrov saw part of his running disappear this morning due to a hydraulic issue.

Heikki Kovalainen, car 20, chassis CT01-#3:
FP3: 1.28.340, 19th
Q1: 1.28.679, 19th
“I'm reasonably positive about today. We didn't get everything we could out of the car in Q1 but it felt better this afternoon than it did in FP3 and on my last quick lap I was held up by an HRT which probably cost me something like six tenths, but around this sort of circuit that's one of the issues you have to deal with. There are quite a few positives to take out of today, the main one being that we know we're much closer to the cars in front than where we finished last year, and now we have KERS and a better package overall, so I think tomorrow's race could be really interesting. .”

Vitaly Petrov, car 21, chassis CT01-#2:
FP3: 1.28.702, 20th
Q1: 1.29.018, 20th
“For me that was an ok qualifying, maybe not quite what we had hoped for but we know there's more to come. We obviously lost time yesterday, and today the performance run was cut short in FP3 with a hydraulics issue, but I pushed as hard as I could and I think my engineer and I are finding out more about how to fine tune the setup for me every time I go out on track so the more time I spend in the car, the better I'm feeling.”

Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 Support Leader: "We faced several challenges here at the first race of the season. We obviously have KERS in the car for the first time in a race situation and we have been working hard on giving the drivers a setup that maximises the driveability of the engine. This is a pretty bumpy circuit, and that can affect the balance of the cars so we have to make sure the engine, KERS and gearbox setups are all helping the drivers minimise the problems the track can present, and from what we have seen so far this weekend we can be reasonably pleased."

Mark Smith, Technical Director: “There are always pluses and minuses with sessions like today's qualifying. In FP3 Vitaly had a hydraulics leak on his car that was fixed before the afternoon session, but it cost us time we wanted to spend on his qualifying setup, and both cars then went into Q1 with a good balance, but our final positions are probably not really a fair reflection of where we are in terms of the gap to the cars ahead. We have a solid plan to keep improving the key areas of the car's performance and I think we can look forward to a more competitive display in tomorrow's race.”

Riad Asmat, Caterham Group CEO: “I am relatively happy with where we finished today. The final positions may be the same that we finished with in 2011 but the gap to the cars ahead is considerably smaller and that is good news for the whole team. Both drivers could definitely have found more time, without the traffic Heikki encountered and the problem we had on Vitaly's car in FP3, but those are the sort of issues we all have to deal with and we will learn from that. We can also look back at the winter tests where we showed good pace over the long runs in winter testing, and we have two drivers who can race hard, particularly here where Vitaly finished third last year, so we are all looking forward to the race tomorrow where I think we can put on a display that is more representative of where we really are in the pecking order.”