Austrian GP: Practice team notes – McLaren
Stoffel Vandoorne finished this afternoon’s Austrian Grand Prix free practice session in 10th place, bringing the curtain down on a busy programme of running and evaluating test components for forthcoming races.
Fernando Alonso, who undertook the lion’s share of the development running this morning, finished the day in 19th. This afternoon, he failed to set a representative time on fresh rubber before switching his focus to long-runs at the end of FP2.
Neither driver ended the day satisfied with the balance of their car; their engineers will work tonight to make a suite of changes ahead of tomorrow afternoon’s qualifying session.
Fernando Alonso: “This was a pretty intense day as we had a lot of items to test on the car, especially aero parts. We completed the programme, now we just need to analyse the data and make sure we put the best parts on the car tomorrow to find a little more performance.
“Having an additional DRS zone is a good step: it will be difficult to get close to the car in front, especially in the middle sector, so three DRS zones will help to keep the group together. Hopefully, it should provide more overtaking in the race.
“We expected rain today, but none came; it’s now on the forecast for tomorrow, so we need to be ready to maximise every opportunity that comes our way if the weather proves to be unpredictable.”
Stoffel Vandoorne: “It was a pretty busy day today. The morning was spent evaluating a number of new parts and ideas, which meant that the real focus was on getting some consistent laps and some good, clean data.
“In the afternoon, I was able to get into more of a rhythm with the car, and, while we didn’t really manage to get the balance right, the times weren’t too bad. We still need to work hard, as we’ve seen before that we can look reasonably competitive on a Friday only to drop down the order on Saturdays.
“The most important thing is that we got some good learning done during the sessions, but it’s still too early to say where we are in the competitive order…”
Eric Boullier: “This was one of the most intensive and exacting days of free practice we’ve undertaken all year. We brought a raft of test components to the circuit this morning in order to evaluate a number of potential future directions for our aerodynamics team to study. That’s why Fernando’s car was fitted with aero rakes this morning, and why he undertook a number of shorter runs at the start of FP1.
“The afternoon was spent back-to-backing further new parts on both cars as we seek to refine the MCL33 for the races ahead. While these components aren’t raceable, they provide an extremely useful dataset for our engineers to study back at the MTC.
“Stoffel made good progress this afternoon, but Fernando struggled to string a quick-lap together. His task was made more difficult by a couple of component breakages, caused by his running over the yellow ‘sausage kerbs’ that line some of the corner-exits here.
“We learned today that it’s best to avoid those if you want to stay out of trouble…”
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June 29, 2018 at 09:12PM