Pedro de la Rosa says a lack of front grip is HRT’s biggest problem to solve ahead of qualifying at Suzuka. The Spaniard and teammate Narain Karthikeyan were the slowest drivers to set a time this afternoon despite running the new floor introduced in Singapore and de la Rosa admits they have “work to do”.
“I’m happy with the day we had as we were very disciplined. We progressed as the day wore on and that’s always positive. In the morning we started out with the old floor and then moved on to the new one to carry out an evaluation at a constant speed so now we can analyse all the data extracted and make comparisons. In the afternoon we focused on the set-up of the car. We’ve got quite a bit of understeer, as I think most teams do, but although we’ve improved it quite a bit we’ve still got a lot of work to do. We’ve also tested both tyre options and done a qualifying and long distance simulation. I’m satisfied because it’s been a very productive day”.
Despite being able to run in both Friday sessions for the first time since Valencia, Narain Karthikeyan trailed de la Rosa by seven tenths of a second but isn’t worried such a gap.
“It’s been an intense day of work as we had a lot of tests to do with the new floor. It was important to carry out the aero evaluation at a constant speed to evaluate its efficiency whilst also working on adjustments to the set-up. And it was positive because we extracted a lot of data and we have good sensations. But now we must analyse all that data to get the most out of it for tomorrow because there are still some areas in which we can improve”.
Team Principal Luis Perez-Sala echoed the comments of his drivers regarding poor front grip but was pleased to see so much mileage completed over the course of the day.
“We had a very clear and detailed programme for today which we have completed with no incidents so I can safely say that, overall, it was a good day’s practice. Both Narain and Pedro were able to complete all the programmed tests and we collected a lot of data and improved throughout the day. We can say that the aero upgrade that we took to Singapore is a step forward and now we have to continue working to optimize it at a very demanding circuit. The main aspect we must improve is that we’re suffering more understeer than we should and a lot of graining on the front tyres, and that’s what we’re going to focus on tomorrow”.