Vitaly Petrov’s testing was interrupted by a spin as he gets used to how the car has changed under braking.
Speaking after today’s test at Jerez he said:
“Today we planned to do just a few laps with the soft tyres just to make sure everything was working but I was not comfortable with the brakes.
“I was changing a lot to get the brakes to work. And then we decided to do the long runs. You need to give some mileage to this car. When you have a lot of kilometres you can work at least with something.
“So I hope these guys will fix it tomorrow and in Barcelona the car will be working. Then in Barcelona I think we can do a proper test.”
He said the introduction of KERS has changed the car’s behaviour under braking:
“When you hit the brakes the rear is walking straight away. For example at the first corner you have a bump, as soon as you hit the bump the rear locks and the car is out. It’s normal, I think.
“So we push, push and go the right way all the day. And just in the last one minute when we went out of the garage we were checking the brakes. I hope now it’s working well for Barcelona.
“With the KERS the car is braking a little bit differently, not like it was last year. So we still need to continue to work in this area for Barcelona.”
Despite a water leak on the car he was happy with the progress made: “To be honest today was quite a positive day for us. We sorted out a lot of problems and we understood a lot of things about the tyres and car.
“We lost a little bit of time because we had some liquid. We were expecting today to do a long run, full distance, but we had a little bit of a problem. We almost finished the full programme.
“In the morning we did aero testing again, a lot of things. Almost until one o’clock we were testing, testing the aero. And then just after lunch we started to work a little bit on tyres. And then we found some good things on brakes which is very important for me.”
Petrov says he’s used to the Drag Reductions System – “it’s just one more toy to use” – and questioned the value of having teams use it outside of races:
“If everybody uses it the same, what is the difference, really?
“I don’t really understand why we use this in qualifying and in practice. OK, we can use this during the race because for sure it will be a help.”
Having driven the car for tow days, Petrov will now observe Nick Heidfeld and Bruno Senna driving the R31 as Renault make a call on which driver should replace Kubica at the team:
“I always like to stay. It doesn’t matter who is running, maybe one or two things they say can help me for the future.
“Even when Robert [Kubica] was testing I always listened to what he said. Even if he said the same things it was interesting for me. I can also write down in my book for the future what he said to use for next time.”
He described how testing alongside Kubica had been beneficial for him:
“We are similar with the driving. And we’re tall and we’re using all of the same braking. Our driving style is quite the same.
“For us when one guy is testing with one thing, he’s doing a different thing the next day, it’s always positive. I’m always listening to what he’s doing.”
Renault have confirmed Nick Heidfeld will drive for them tomorrow followed by Bruno Senna on Sunday.
2011 F1 testing
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