Alexander Rossi, Caterham test driver
“I am looking forward to getting back into the F1 car in Spain and I want to thank the team for the chance to run in FP1 in Barcelona. I have a clear goal for the session – make sure I run to the plan set by the engineers, not make any mistakes and learn as much as I can over the whole weekend. I know how much I will be able to take from my time with the team back to my Formula Renault 3.5 commitments and I know the team will do everything they can to help me maximise my performance on Friday.”
Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham
2011 Qualifying – 15th, 2011 Race – DNF
“Barcelona’s a good circuit where the main challenge is to nail everything absolutely perfectly. If you make a half a tenth of a mistake it can cost you a grid position and it’s a race weekend where you have to focus on the details to give yourself the best chance of success. It’s a track with a lot of high-speed corners, some where you have to be really on it to save time, and you have to be pretty committed going into the braking zone in T1 as that’s where there is an overtaking chance. For the fans it’s often a pretty quiet race because it’s a tough circuit to overtake on, but that makes qualifying even more crucial and means you have to get the plan on Saturday absolutely right.”
Vitaly Petrov, Caterham
2011 Qualifying – 6th, 2011 Race – 11th
“After a good test in Mugello we are all looking forward to getting back to racing in Spain. Barcelona is a track I know well and one I like racing on. I was on the podium there in GP2 in 2009 and while I know that’s out of reach for us at the moment, we will all be focusing on continuing to take the fight to the cars ahead and repeating the sort of performances we’ve put in so far this season, particularly on Sundays.”
Mark Smith, Caterham technical director
“The Circuit de Catalunya is a track every team knows extremely well. We have already tested there twice this year as the layout gives the cars a good test of most of the track conditions we see throughout the season – fast, high G corners, a long straight and a number of slower speed corners where good traction is key. It is also one of the more technically demanding tracks for the drivers and offers a bit of everything. Turns 3 and 9 are high-speed corners and finding a balance for both together is not easy. The final sector is also a good challenge – the car has to make big changes of direction so you need good mechanical grip to maximise your lap time.
“Barcelona is also a relatively open circuit and the wind can have a significant effect on car balance, particularly when it changes direction. However, while the wind can be an issue, another major factor in Barcelona is the way in which the track evolves over the race weekend and throughout each day due to air and track temperature changes, which can be fairly extreme. Although we understand these factors well, due to the amount of time we spend at the circuit, we do need to constantly monitor what is happening with the weather to ensure the car setup remains optimised and we are on top of the changing conditions.
“We will also be giving our test driver Alexander Rossi his first FP1 run with us in Barcelona and we are all looking forward to giving him the chance to work with us at a full race weekend. He did a good job in Abu Dhabi when we ran him in the young driver test in 2011 and I am sure he will perform well for us on Friday in Spain.”
Tony Fernandes, Caterham team principal
“We head back to Europe after what has been an encouraging first four races for the team. We may not have quite bridged the gap to the midfield pack yet, but we are clearly much closer than we were this time last year, particularly on race day when we have seen clear evidence of the progress we have made.
“Having been with us for four races now, I am very pleased with the job Vitaly has been doing for the team. He is obviously a fighter and he is pushing his team mate well, especially on Sundays, and that is good for the whole team. I think Heikki is due a run of better luck in the races as he has been pushing extremely hard in qualifying, particularly to get himself into Q2 in Bahrain, but he has not had the same luck when the lights go out on race day. Hopefully that will change in Barcelona and we will be able to see both cars fighting to the chequered flag on Sunday.”
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