Both Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez had the latest Sauber aero package at their disposal today in Friday practice for the Spanish Grand Prix as the team completed their usual race preparation and evaluations of the new hard Pirelli tyre.
Kobayashi finished the day as the ninth fastest driver, completing 56 laps over the course of the day. The Japanese driver thinks that he could have done a better lap time, given the opportunity, and was not particularly complementary about the new harder tyre.
“We have had a really interesting day. In the morning I was busy testing the exhaust, and evaluating the new aero parts. I didn't put in a good lap time because I had to pit after a sensor gave us some wrong information,” he explained.
“The new superhard compound gives you the feeling you are driving a totally different car. They are so slow. This is going to be tricky for everyone and might produce interesting tyre strategies in the race.“
Perez was even more industrious than his team-mate, completing 64 laps today. He was fifth fastest in the morning session and eleventh quickest in the afternoon.
“It was a very positive day for us,” said the Mexican. “We were learning a lot about our aero update and the new tyre compound. As it is quite slow compared to the soft compound, you will obviously want to use the soft ones as much as you can in the race.
“We have to analyse a lot of data now, and then we want to make sure we improve our qualifying performance tomorrow and get proper grid positions.”
Technical director James Key sounded pleased with how the new updates had performed today, and suggests that there is more pace to come from the C30 overnight.
“It has been a busy day for the team with a lot of new parts on the car to evaluate and check, but it has been positive and the team has done a really good job,” he commented. “In FP1 we ran the new aero package on both cars, and Kamui ran the outboard exhaust, which was primarily for him a session of aero assesment. We have gathered more important and interesting data for the exhaust, but we are not quite sure yet if we are ready to run this.
“Otherwise the rest of the package is working pretty well. There have been no major issues, we see a general improvement in grip level and the drivers have been okay with the balance that they are feeling with all the new parts. We have also carried on with the mechanical updates we made in Turkey, taking them a little bit further here. As far as the new parts are concerned, generally it has been pretty positive.
“The pace looks okay, but clearly it is all so very close and we are not a hundred per cent with the total balance of the car in these track conditions. It is quite hot and at the moment we need to adapt the car a little bit for the conditions to get the balance better, particularly on new tyres. Now we have to work over night to make the most of tomorrow.“