Friday Analysis

FP1: di Resta 6th (1:41.105), Bianchi 15th (1:42.175), Karthikeyan 23rd (1:45.120).
FP2: Hulkenberg 2nd (1:39.465), di Resta 6th (1:39.700), Karthikeyan 23rd (1:44.201).

FP1 was all about testing new updates on the car (the main of which is a new front wing) and getting the drivers used to the track. The session went well for Paul di Resta who said he was very happy with the car at the end of the morning session while Jules Bianchi was being used as a bit of a guinea pig, running the car with a tonne of flo-viz aerodynamic paint on the right hand side for analysis of the updates on the VJM05.

As for the pace, it was pretty good really! Paul ended the session in 6th place, 0.215s down on the leader. At the last race in Canada, Paul ended the practice sessions looking in equally good shape however come the race, while the pace was present, the tyres just fell away and as a result strategy was poor. Following that race the team has analysed all the data they had and the very interesting bit of information from the team is that they now understand what the issue was and have subsequently learnt something crucial that they believe no other team has discovered yet. I don't know exactly what this piece of information is, the team are being very secretive about it (understandably so!) - but it sure sounds exciting, let's hope it translates into results this weekend.

FP2 was where we really began to see the performance level of the VJM05. While the positions of 2nd and 6th are very encouraging we must stress that the fuel loads are unknown. Nevertheless, there is a pattern emerging this weekend. There was some distance between the top seven cars (separated by 0.399s) and the eighth placed Romain Grosjean; it's good to see the two Sahara Force India's inside that leading group.

If we look at the individual fastest sector times from FP2:

Sector 1:
1) Vettel (26.220s)
5) Hulkenberg (+0.054s)
8) di Resta (+0.126s)

Sector 2:
1) di Resta (45.084s)
6) Hulkenberg (+0.175s)

Sector 3:
1) Senna (27.710s)
3) Hulkenberg (+0.222s)
10) di Resta (+0.434s)

I think that's clear proof that the VJM05 is pretty consistent over the course of the lap. If we take the best three Sahara Force India sectors:

Sector 1: Hulkenberg (26.274s)
Sector 2: di Resta (45.084s)
Sector 3: Hulkenberg (27.932s)

That gives a best laptime of: 1:39.290. Vettel topped FP2 with a 1:39.334. Sahara Force India's best time is 0.044s faster than Vettel! Another indicator as to why the team should do very well this weekend :-)

Because of all this promising data, i have placed a £1 bet on Hulkenberg & a £1 bet on di Resta for podiums this weekend - i really do think this is our (overdue) time to shine!

There is less to say about Indian driver Narain Karthikeyan. He's in an equally tough battle to the Force India's, but with far less cars involved. His competition is his teammate de la Rosa and the two Marussia's. Narain finished 23rd in both sessions, that's not too bad really! This is the race last year where Narain set an unwanted record as he became the first driver in F1 history to finish a race in 24th position. He'll be hoping there isn't a repeat of that this time round.

Overall things are looking very nice going into FP3 and qualifying tomorrow, let's hope for the best! We'll sign off with the post-Friday quotes from the team personnel.

Nico Hulkenberg (Sahara Force India driver):
"Just the one session for me today, but it went very well and we were able to pack a lot of work into the afternoon. I feel quite comfortable with the car and we managed some good runs on both tyres compounds today. I think the key factor for the rest of the weekend will be managing the tyres if the temperatures increase as expected and making sure we can deliver the same level of performance".

Paul di Resta (Sahara Force India driver):
"When I got in the car this morning the baseline set-up was a good starting point and I didn't really change that much for the rest of the day. Our single lap speed looks strong, as does the long run pace, and we appear to have a good feel for the tyres already. Given the pace we have shown today we seem competitive so hopefully we can challenge for the top ten in qualifying tomorrow".

Jules Bianchi (Sahara Force India reserve driver):
"My morning session went well and the team learned a lot from the aero evaluation we did with the front wings. My first few laps were not at the limit, but I improved my speed step-by-step with each run and got more confidence with the conditions. The track was not so clean to begin with and although it improved during the session my tyres were going away at the same time. It was the second time I have used the medium compound tyres and I felt quite happy with their performance during the session".

Jakob Andreasen (Sahara Force India chief engineer):
"A solid day of practice in Valencia and we managed to get through our programme of test items, which included some aero parts and items we had evaluated in the simulator. The results were encouraging and show the correlation between our simulations and reality is working well. In terms of tyres we gathered a lot of data today and both the soft and medium compounds are performing well for us. The drivers were excellent, too, and their feedback has given us a good basis for tomorrow. There are some tough decisions to make tonight because we expect the temperatures to rise for the weekend, but we are up and running and well prepared heading into final practice tomorrow morning".

Narain Karthikeyan (HRT driver):
"In the morning the track was very dirty because it hadn't been used yet, so we just did some running and some work on the set-up and weight distribution of the car. In the afternoon we tried a few other things as the track was in better condition but we struggled to get the option tyres hot for the quick lap, so we have to work on that to try and get the most out of them for tomorrow's qualifying. Other than that it was a good day and tomorrow we must look to build on this and find that long-desired good performance in qualifying".

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.