Nick and Vitaly unleashed on track a raft of revisions to the R31 in Friday’s FP1 and FP2 sessions at a rather chilly and cloudy Nürburgring to end the day with both cars inside the top ten.

Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer – Technical programme notes

  • Nick ran a rearward exiting exhaust for the first time on the R31 and a complementary rear floor.
  • Vitaly ran a new front floor and front wing.
  • Vitaly suffered from a water leak in FP2 necessitating a change of radiator.
  • We ran with both the soft and the medium Pirelli tyres.
  • Due to Vitaly’s water leak and Nick’s exhaust evaluation we did not run a high-fuel long run.

What we learned today:

  • We are on a steep learning curve with the rearward facing exhaust and made strong progress through the two sessions.
  • There were no issues with balance and we have a good baseline set-up here with both car configurations.
  • We have a lot of data to digest for determining which exhaust configuration we will use for qualifying and the race.
  • We had good running time with the soft Pirelli and are happy with the performance we saw.

Nick Heidfeld, R31-04
Free practice 1: P15, 1:35.444, 22 laps
Free practice 2: P8, 1:33.098, 17 laps

Nick: “These were two important sessions for us as we were able to try the new exhaust and diffuser. We had no technical issues which enabled us to work through a lot of our planned programme so we can now make a decision of where to go next with it. As I was evaluating the new parts I did a lot less balance work than I would have down otherwise. We also didn’t do a high-fuel long run which we would normally as we focused on learning as much as we could with the new exhaust and floor. Even though it’s quite cool the soft Pirellis are heating up pretty well so there were no problems in that regards and there was the usual difference between the two compounds. There’s now a lot of work to see what we do with the floor and what happens with the weather. It was good that it was dry today but the forecast doesn’t look as good for the next two days.”

Vitaly Petrov, R31-05
Free practice 1: P11, 1:34.094, 22 laps
Free practice 2: P9, 1:33.138, 22 laps

Vitaly: “I was pleased with today. We did a lot of aero testing and worked on a number of set-ups. It was my first time on this circuit so I needed some time to get know it and understand how to drive here. Set-up wise, we are not far away from a good car, even after our running was interrupted by a radiator leak which cost us a little bit of time in second practice. The soft tyres had more grip than we experienced with them previously. All in all, we were pleased with progress.”

Did you know?
Nick’s prototype floor is made of metal parts and is 4kg heavier than a full carbon fibre alternative.

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