KERS makes braking a challenge for Petrov

2011 F1 testing

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Vitaly Petrov, Renault, Jerez, 2011

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.

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    30 comments on “KERS makes braking a challenge for Petrov”

    1. I bet Renault are looking forward for a bit of Quick Nick imput on getting the brake balance right with KERS.

      He did do the grunt of the KERS testing for BMW, even if their system was not that good. This is exactly why they need an experienced guy for the development.

      I suppose the brake balance change Petrov mentions is a large factor in his offs today. Nice to see him rephrase earlier comments about not being tought much by Robert (to be honest, he only said Robert does not teach him, but he learns by looking and listening)

    2. He seemed to struggle braking a few times last season. If he can’t get to grips with it quickly then he shouldn’t be in th car. And to be honest if Heidfeld can beat him next season he doesn’t deserve to be in F1.

      1. That would depend on how Heidfeld performs though. If Heidfeld does poorly and still beats him, then I would agree. I think Petrov will have a slightly better season this year, only slightly though… Hopefully he’ll at least refrain from checking to see how wet the curbs are in the first lap of Q1 going through Pouhon.

        1. Who’s to say if Heidfeld will even get the seat?

          1. Well slap me with a wet fish if Heidfeld doesn’t get the seat.

            1. I think I’ll hold you to that ;)

              Of course, I’d be surprised as well if he doesn’t get it.

            2. Well slap me with a wet fish if Heidfeld doesn’t get the seat

              This looks like a job for Magnificent Geoffrey.

        2. I think that quote first came about at Spain where Petrov said that he was checking to see if the kerbs were wet Peter and at Spa he was either just asleep or didn’t learn his lesson :P

          With all Kers and the new rear wing I guess it’s quite challenging at first but he should quickly adjust to it.

          1. I can assure that the kerbs were wet in Spa – I was there, wet and cold as the kerbs;-)
            But objectively Vitaly doesn’t deserve the seat in that Renault, but he had a check with him. However I don’t think he did bad for a rookie, but there were many better drivers, who, if only measured by talent and ability, should have had the seat before Vitaly. I hope he develops further this year.

      2. If he can’t get to grips with it quickly then he shouldn’t be in the car.

        Do you honestly expect him to come to terms with it and understand it completely after just one day in the car?

    3. Let’s see what Vitaly can do… still early to judge..

    4. We heard similar things from Fisichella in 2009, about how difficult it was driving the F60 compared to VJM02. These cars look like they’ll be a real test of driving ability; Massa and Hamilton might have a head-start in getting to grips with KERS, but the others will learn quickly.

      1. Yes, it’s certainly consistent. I believe Fisichella was having problems because he needed to use the engine to slow the car down, which led to the rear tyres locking up.

        1. And to be fair to Petrov, at least he seems to understand what his issues are. Recognizing the problem has to be the first step in fixing it.

          I still have good hopes for Petrov, I like him :)

          1. For that reason alone, he could crash every race and still be better than Nelson Piquet – even if Piquet had won every race. Petrov has self-efficacy, the ability to recognise his own limitations. He impressed me from Bahrain last year when Renault admitted Petrov was running a lower suspension set-up than they had ever tried, which led to a bolt being able to slip out and destroying the suspension. The team admitted fault, but Petrov said he was partly to blame because he hit a kerb too hard, and that was what made the bolt come out. If he hadn’t hit the kerb, he probaby would have caught Rubens Barrichello and scored a World Championship point. Nelson Piquet, on the other hand, always pushed the blame. He was never at fault – it was always someone in the team who was responsible for his mistakes.

    5. (if heidfield gets the seat)i suspect they are going to be more even, than kubica/petrov, and people are going to say that is because heidfield is rubbish instead of petrov improving.

    6. “Our driving style is quite the same”


      I think Vitaly is a little early for April Fools’ Day …

      1. And are you an expert on analising driving styles to such an extent that you know more about Petrov’s style than Petrov himself? Or was that just a pointless piece of Vitaly-bashing?

        1. Analising! Word of the day.

    7. Petrov is a bad driver, he made the most errors last year: I counted 6 serious errors in qualifying and races.

      1. Were you watching Nico Hulkenberg by any chance? He skipped chicanes in Belgium. Then he did it in Italy. And again in Singapore. I could maybe understand if they were spaced out through the year, but those three races were all in a row. At least Petrov was pushing harder and trying to improve himself when he wiped out. Hulkenberg’s season was littered with similar errors – like the way he constantly wasted is soft tyres in qualifying so that he ended up at the back of Q3 on terrible tyres – and while they may not have been as visible or as costly as Petrov’s, Hulkenberg did something stupid at least once a race. But people seem to forget it after his pole in Brazil, as if one good drive redeems a season of silly mistakes.

        1. Hulkenberg made mistakes too, and to suggest that he made mistakes without pushing harder is absolutely ridiculous. Sure he cut chicanes while racing, but did he crash in Q1 like Petrov did?? NO. At the end of the day, Petrov managed to finish the season a couple of points ahead of the Hulk, despite having a superior car all season long. I’m not saying Hulkenberg is great, but he is definitely isn’t as bad as Petrov.

        2. I think one of the reason why some (including me) are so harsh on Petrov is because he brings lots of cash to Renault, and he is therefore seen as a pay driver.

          But even so, Petrov was awful in 2010, yes he’s determind and gives it 110%, but Petrov doesn’t seem to know his limits, there is such a thing called “trying too hard”. All of this determination and trying too hard, suggests to me that in a Formula One car, Petrov lacks intelligence.

          You can give it your all, and push the limits, but if your crashing whilst doing it, then your going to look worse in the end. All of that effort goes to waste, and means very little. In Formula One, you’ve got to get the result, it doesn’t matter how, you’ve just got to get them, that’s what will be remembered.

          As for Hulkenberg, people were generally impress with him because he continued to put in good number of performances after Hungary. Petrov however, only really impressed, once or twice after Hungary.

          1. In Formula One, you’ve got to get the result, it doesn’t matter how, you’ve just got to get them, that’s what will be remembered.

            Exactly. That’s why I remember Hulkenberg doing a respectable job against Barrichello, and Petrov being embarrassed by Kubica.

        3. Aside from what slr and Todfod have rightly pointed out:

          Hulkenberg skipped chicanes holding off a significantly faster Webber. So there goes that stuff about Petrov being the only one to push harder when making errors.

          And speaking of errors in a row, Petrov crashed in Japan, Korea and Brazil (practice).

    8. Let’s face it, brakes make braking a challenge for Petrov.

    9. massa and hamilton a head start using kers? i don’t think so. by the way alonso is very gentle with the tires as well as button so they might be in a better position than hamilton

      1. Looks like in your excitement to stick the boot into Hamilton, you missed the correct reply button, and ended-up stranded down here, nevermind.

        Heikki and Lewis have the most road miles and operational experience of KERS, more than anyone else on the grid, and by a good distance.

        Massa got boinked on the head and missed half a season of KERS, Kimi is in the forests somewhere, BMW and Renault both gave-up, so that leaves Heidfeld and Alonso with less experience. Kubica clearly is ruled-out for obvious reasons.

        With nothing more than pure grinding logic, it turns out the statement that got you so excited was actually pretty true, Hamilton does have a head-start.

        As for tyres and muscling the front-end of a car into corners, you really couldn’t have picked too more different drivers than Alonso and Button.

    10. One thing that interests me is what is Heidfeld does well? To the extent of when Kubica comes back will they replace Petrov with Heidfeld next year, because Heidfeld finished classified in like 40(?) races in a row and if the car is fast then that will mean a large amount of points, which could tip the tide of the sponsorship that Petrov brings to the team.

      1. Renault want their 2nd driver to be a pay driver, and what a pay driver they have. Petrov has got most of the sponsorship money to the team, and that amount cannot be matched by the money received from the points total. It seems like Renault are building their team around Kubica, like they did around Alonso. So Petrov fits in just fine. They only have financial expectations of him.

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