Adrian Sutil said the Force India are yet ‘to find the sweet spot’ after spending today testing new aero parts in preparation for the Spanish Grand Prix.
The German finished the day down in P20, and sounded distinctly downbeat about his prospects for the weekend in Barcelona.
“I ran with all our new aero parts this morning and in the afternoon, but to be honest we haven't managed to find the sweet spot yet,” he said. “The guys did a great job to get everything on the car, but it's never easy to introduce so many new things during a weekend and to test them properly.
“Getting this new package to work is probably going to be more difficult than we thought and that's why we didn't look that competitive today. So we have work to do this evening to see if we can improve things for tomorrow.”
Team-mate Paul di Resta was not in the car for the morning practice session – Nico Hulkenberg was on duty instead – and finished the day only slightly higher up the timesheets than his team-mate in seventeenth.
“I missed the morning session so there was a big workload to get through in the afternoon,” said the Scot. “It was the first time I'd been in the car with the entire new package and we always knew it would be a big change compared to what we were used to.
“The car feels very different and it's clear we have lots of work to do to understand the new parts and get the most from them. By the end of the afternoon we had definitely improved the car quite a bit, but we need to sit down tonight and think about how we should approach tomorrow.”
Circuit Engineering Director Dominic Harlow was slightly more upbeat than his drivers after today’s performance, but conceded that qualifying could be difficult tomorrow if they are unable to find more pace.
“On the whole we had good weather conditions here in Barcelona apart from a bit more wind than we would have liked and that looks set to continue for the weekend,” he said. “Our programme concentrated on aero development and we were able to make some very useful comparisons. Once we've had an opportunity to review all the data we will draw conclusions that will take us forward. The grip level was quite low in the morning and only began to improve at the end of FP2.
“There was a minor telemetry issue with Adrian’s car and that meant he was hampered by traffic during his final outing on new soft tyres, and of course he lost a bit of track time. Otherwise it was a reliable introduction of quite a few new components, which is always pleasing, but we’ve some work to do overnight to improve our performance for qualifying.”