Caterham made “a step in the right direction” on the second day of the Mugello test according to Vitaly Petrov, the man behind the wheel.
The Russian driver enjoyed the challenge of driving an F1 car around the Italian circuit, where he won earlier in his career.
“I have very good memories of Mugello as this is where I won in F3000, so coming back is good,” said Petrov. “I’m not sure the track is right for today’s F1 cars – you get very close to the walls and it’s maybe a bit small for the cars now, but it’s still a good challenge putting together a quick lap.
“I think we can be pleased with what we have achieved here today. The car has run faultlessly all day and we have completed everything we targeted in today’s runplan.”
The team introduced new parts onto the car in the afternoon, and Petrov said he could feel an instant improvement.
“This afternoon we started running some new parts and even though it’s too early to make any judgements on what sort of step forward they give us, I can say the new rear wing we tried immediately felt like it was giving us more downforce,” he explained.
“The car’s balance felt better and there was more grip, so that’s definitely a step in the right direction. Hopefully we can have a similar day tomorrow and give ourselves a good chance of making more progress when we’re back racing in Spain next week.”
Chief Engineer Jody Egginton said the team were pleased to get lots of track time after the rain-hit first day.
“Day two in Mugello has been a good one for the team,” he said. “The weather is obviously a vast improvement over yesterday and with Vitaly in the car we managed to complete 112 laps, helping us catch up with the time we lost on track yesterday with the rain.
“This morning we ran through a program on a variety of tyre compounds that gave us the chance to evaluate the new parts we put on the car in the afternoon. From that we have generated a very good amount of data the team on track and back at the factory can use to accurately assess what we have gained with the updates which include new bodywork, a new rear wing and a look at a revised exhaust layout.
“Tomorrow we will be looking to replicate the same sort of program with Heikki in the car and with the forecast looking good for the last day of the test we want to be able to leave Mugello having completed everything we planned.”