Sergio Pérez lost the majority of his afternoon session at the Circuit Paul Ricard when his VJM11 shed its left rear tyre, with his Sahara Force India F1 Team facing an investigation from the stewards as a result.
The Mexican had just started a fast lap when the tyre detached itself at the high speed left-hander that leads onto the first part of the Mistral Straight, with Pérez spinning to a halt as the tyre made it’s own way down the track. The team believe an issue with the bolt holding the wheel to the car caused the incident, but it meant a red flag on circuit and a lot of time in the pit lane for Pérez.
The car was recovered to the pits and he was able to resume the session in the closing minutes but ended up nineteenth fastest without a true representative Qualifying simulation lap time on the board.
“It was not the easiest Friday for us,” admitted Pérez. “Unfortunately we lost a lot of time this afternoon with the issue I had on my car.
“We lost a bit of track time in the morning so we are missing some information ahead of the race, especially on the tyres. However, we still have some practice tomorrow so we will see what we can do.”
Although nothing has been made official, the FIA are likely to summon the team to find out what caused the dramatic failure on his car, but other than that, Pérez was positive about the circuit and he hopes Force India can be fighting for the best of the rest in Qualifying and in the race.
“Despite these problems, I like the new circuit,” said the Mexican. “I wasn’t very positive about it until today, but now that I drove it for the first time I quite like it. The wind is a big issue: it changed between the two sessions and it took a lot of time to get used to it.
“I had a couple of moments on my soft runs, but I wasn’t the only one. It’s hard to tell where we stand but our target for tomorrow is definitely to be up there fighting to be best of the rest.”