Sauber spent the two Friday practice sessions at Silverstone evaluating a new front wing in addition to becoming familiar with the new arena section of the Northamptonshire circuit and the comparing the two Bridgestone tyre compounds.
There was a technical problem on Kamui Kobayashi’s car, which cost the Japanese driver some track time. He finished the day fourteenth fastest.
“After we lost some track time we tried to catch up with the programme, and I think we managed that quite well, especially with the short runs,” said Kobayashi. “We obviously have to improve our pace everywhere, but I found the balance of the car not too bad. I had only a little understeer and I think we can fix it with some set up changes.
“The tyre situation with both compounds looks okay to me. The new track section is a bit bumpy and dusty, but it will get cleaner.”
Pedro de la Rosa wasn’t as happy with the C29 as his teammate. He finished the day only seventeenth fastest. “I must admit it was not an easy day for me,” conceded the Spaniard. “The front end of the car doesn't react the way I want it to. I really have a lot of understeer. It is worse in the very high and very low speed corners. I find it difficult to make the car turn. We have to look into the data now and find a solution.”
Sauber technical director James Key said that grip levels were inconsistent around the lap, and said that the team are now trying to optimise the cars so that they work well in all corners.
“It was a fairly busy day,” he said. “In the beginning the track was quite slippery, and therefore we did not get much work done in the first session. The new lay out of the circuit looks quite good, but there is also a significant difference in grip level between the old and the new part.
“The problem on Kamui's car, which occurred at the very end of the first session, initially appeared to be engine related. Now it looks like it was an electronic issue, which we only found at the beginning of the second session. However, our main target is now to find the right balance for low and high speed consistency.”