Fri: Lotus, Marussia, Caterham

Friday 28-March-2014 07:33

It was a stop-start day for Romain Grosjean, a stop day for Pastor Maldonado while there were laps for Marussia and Marcus Ericsson...

Lotus F1:
Romain Grosjean: "We have to work and try to solve all our issues. We are focusing on every issue we encounter. This morning we couldn't do any laps, and this afternoon we burnt a cable which stopped the gearbox from working. Of course I don't get out of the car with a smile when my car is parked out on track and is not working, and you do swear a little bit in your head! But as I've said before, it's only the second race of the season and we always knew we would be starting on the back foot. We will get to where we want to be."

Pastor Maldonado: "Our problems today were centred around the power unit. Hopefully we have fixed everything ahead of tomorrow and will be able to do enough for FP3 and qualifying. It's important for the team and it's important for me to be able to test the car and push a little bit, as it was not the case in the first race. It's tough as each time we're expecting to be better and better. We've been working so hard, the mechanics, the engineers, together with Renault Sport F1. We just need to try and be strong enough to accept when we have a problem and as soon as everything is fixed, be ready to be out and attack immediately."

Max Chilton: "It was good to be back in the car. We learned so much from the masses of data we gathered in Melbourne and there really is so much potential for development with the car that it's nice to start making in-roads into that. This morning we were compromised quite a lot by an electrical problem and this afternoon ended better than it started. I spun on my opening lap but we got the car back quickly and I was still able to achieve quite a lot of track time, so it was a good recovery. There's still plenty of work to be done to improve the balance but we ticked a lot of boxes."

Jules Bianchi: "It has been a pretty straightforward day for me. We did some good work looking at the aero options for the rest of the weekend here and also some more general work with the ERS system to help us improve for qualifying and the race. We have made some improvements during the two sessions and I think if we can maintain this good direction we can have a positive time here in the race on Sunday. We have had no major issues, which is good from a reliability point of view."

Marcus Ericsson: "24 laps in FP1 means we started Friday much better than we did in Australia! It was a good first session for me, working through a normal FP1 program which was particularly important with the issues we had on Kamui's car. At the start of the session the track was ok and as it went on and the grip levels improved so did the car balance, but for most of the time I was having issues with traction although we did improve the driveability of the power unit throughout the session. Overall, understeer was the main balance issue and a flatspot on one of the tyres meant the car was understeering quite a bit in the final two runs, but in general it was an ok session. In FP2 we were again able to get through a lot of laps but I had an issue all afternoon with the engine cutting out at various points throughout each lap. That mean I wasn't able to put in a representative laptime in the whole session and that's something we need to look at tonight with Renault. The car was also still understeering, particularly in the mid and high speed turns, and we'll also have a look at that tonight when we have all the data from today. Overall it's just good to have a full Friday behind me for the first time, especially here at our home race in Malaysia. I know the team are working as hard as possible to fix the problems on Kamui's car, but at least we are a good step on from where we were this time in Australia with 55 laps completed on my side of the garage today - that will obviously help us tomorrow, both in FP3 and quali."

Kamui Kobayashi: "FP1 started ok. We did the normal installation lap and then another three laps of the baseline run but then the power started cutting in and out and we had to box to take a look at the problem. It was pretty quickly identified as an energy store issue which meant we had to change the battery and that was the end of FP1 for me. Unfortunately we also found an oil leak when we took the floor off the car and that meant I wasn't able to run at all in FP2 as it would have taken too long to fix both issues. This isn't good, obviously, and I'm not happy that we've lost another Friday, but it is important to say that I know how hard everyone is working, in our team and at Renault, to try and fix these problems so we can have a proper race weekend. The fact Marcus was able to run the most laps of anyone in FP1 shows that we can be reliable - we just need to make sure both cars run like that for the rest of the weekend or we'll have another difficult race ahead."

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