Renault Sport Formula One Team enjoyed a productive first day of the Russian Grand Prix with new Test Driver Sergey Sirotkin making his FP1 debut for the team, sitting in for Kevin Magnussen. Sergey, Jolyon Palmer and Kevin completed a total of 127 laps of the Sochi Autodrom over the course of today’s two dry and warm 90-minute practice sessions.
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director – Technical programme notes
– Sergey completed an admirable debut for the team driving in FP1.
– Jolyon completed valuable assessment work across both sessions including aero, tyre and front wing comparisons.
– Jolyon and Sergey both ran with aero rakes briefly in the morning.
– Kevin concentrated on tyre assessments in FP2.
– Pirelli’s soft (yellow) tyres were used in the morning, the soft and super soft (red) were used in the afternoon.
What we learned today:
– Low grip levels – as expected – from the track.
– Reliable first day with further pace to be unlocked.
Kevin Magnussen – “First impressions are okay after today and the car isn’t too bad here. Evaluating the tyres was the main job in FP2 and the track was fairly consistent throughout the session. It’s quite distinct with the tyres here actually; there is no big difference between the soft and super soft tyres and there is very low degradation so it’ll be interesting for the race. We have a few things to work on before tomorrow’s morning practice session, though the pace we showed today is probably not far from where we are. Hopefully we can have qualifying with no mistakes or issues, then take it onto the race and seize any opportunities that come our way.”
Jolyon Palmer – “I wasn’t able to get a good balance or find the sweet spot today which is always a little frustrating. Fortunately, we’ve had a good reliable day with both cars so there’s plenty of data for us to work from to make improvements for tomorrow. The track’s quite slippery out there but we accumulated a lot of laps without drama. We just need to dial-out the unwanted oversteer and I think there’s more pace to come.”
Sergey Sirotkin – “My target for today was to give the team exactly what they wanted from the session. I tried to remain very calm even though it is, of course, very exciting to get to drive a Formula 1 car. Obviously, it’s always beneficial when your lap time looks good but I felt comfortable delivering at today’s level even if it wasn’t as comfortable as it could have been with my seat. I am happy that I have started this long programme with Renault Sport Formula One Team in a positive manner.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director – “A productive first day for us. It was Sergey’s first time in the car and he did a very positive job for us. We weren’t able to get the seating position perfect for him yet despite this he delivered good pace and feedback. Jolyon had a straight-forward couple of sessions concentrating on aero development in the first session and a further front wing back-to-back comparison as well as tyre work in the afternoon. Kevin didn’t suffer from missing FP1 and was able to deliver everything required from FP2. We’ve still got some work to do, in particular with an oversteer balance. There are improvements possible, but it’s a reasonable start to the weekend.”