Caterham drivers Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde say they are concerned about the rapid tyre drop off, following practice for the Singapore Grand Prix.
Both drivers found themselves behind the Marussia drivers in first practice but jumped ahead of their rivals during the second of Friday’s 90 minute sessions.
“The main balance issue in the [first] session was understeer, especially mid-corner on the first couple of runs, and under braking it was too easy to lock the fronts,” said Pic. “We made a bit of progress throughout the session but by the last run the rear tyre performance had dropped off so it was a bit tricky to really judge where we’d moved forward.”
“From the start of FP2 the car balance was a bit better,” added the Frenchman. “The grip levels on track had also improved but it was immediately clear from the times and how the car felt that the changes we’d made from FP1 were taking us in the right direction. Despite that the fronts were still not there so we made another mechanical change for the first run on the supersofts and they came up to temperature but there was still understeer, especially on entry to mid-corner, even more than the mediums.
“On the long runs the supersofts held up pretty well, but when they went off it was a big drop and we’ll need to manage that. I didn’t really have a chance to push the mediums hard at the end of the session so we’ll need to look at that again tonight.”
Team-mate Van der Garde encountered a similar scenario.
“After FP1 we made some changes to the ride height, front camber and front anti-roll bar and from the first run the front tyres were working better,” said Van der Garde.
“The understeer I’d had in FP1 had turned to a bit of mid-corner oversteer – the entry into the corners was fine but there was a bit of snap mid-corner so we added some more front wing for the performance run. The supersofts were much quicker and easier to drive and I think the first lap I had on them was good – there was a bit of understeer but not really enough to be a major problem.”
“We did a very long run on the mediums to finish the session. The deg levels were ok until the final lap when they’d completely gone and then we switched to supersofts for the final stint. What we’ve seen from them today gives us some interesting options to work through tonight and I’m sure we’ll make more progress tomorrow.”