An uncharacteristically hot and sunny Spa-Francorchamps circuit greeted teams on the opening day of practice for the 2016 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix. Both Renault Sport Formula One Team drivers completed 20 laps in the morning as they ran through aero evaluation programmes and tyre comparisons. The afternoon session brought 66 laps in total, with Kevin Magnussen ending the day in nineteenth position and Jolyon in twentieth.
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director - Technical programme notes
Pirelli brought one tyre step softer than in previous years, with the supersoft, soft and medium compound tyres available, along with a prototype tyre we tested in the afternoon
Jolyon ran the prototype, soft and medium tyres in the morning with Kevin using the soft and medium. Both drivers used prototype, soft and supersoft in the afternoon
We evaluated a new front wing with Jolyon in the morning session, which behaved as expected. We will check the data thoroughly this evening but plan to use the new wing tomorrow
Kevin had a trouble-free day but Jolyon experienced two technical problems. In the morning a driveshaft problem stopped him on track while a fuel pressure sensor issue cut the engine as a precaution in the afternoon. Jolyon was able to get going again in P2 using a routine MGU-K start procedure and continued his programme. The problems are unrelated.
Kevin Magnussen, #20, R.S.16-01
Free practice 1: P20, 1:53.053, 20 laps
Free practice 2: P19, 1:50.375, 34 laps
Kev: “We are not where we would like to be here and it looks like it will be a tough quali tomorrow. Tyre degradation seems to be the biggest issue, but I think everyone was suffering as well. The balance is not as predictable as I would like and we are lacking rear grip at the moment so we will look at everything now. I think we can make our normal progress, and we will do our best as always. We have the tools to improve and in the race anything can happen so you need to give it everything you can.”
Jolyon Palmer, #30, R.S.16-02
Free practice 1: P21, 1:53.089, 20 laps
Free practice 2: P20, 1:50.562, 32 laps
Jo: “We had a couple of issues but we worked through what we wanted to do. I missed the last run but everything else was relatively fine. We didn’t lose very much in the afternoon in the end. The car feels OK and I think we found a reasonable baseline with it so it’s just about fine tuning for tomorrow and adding some performance. We are not expecting to be super-quick here this weekend but we can still find the sweet spot. We’ll work hard tonight and come back again tomorrow with some improvements.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “We’ve worked through our programme today, conducting lots of aero and tyre tests to prepare for tomorrow and Sunday’s race. Pirelli have brought a softer tyre compound than we usually use here, with the supersoft, soft and medium. It’s obvious that the supersoft is the way to go for Qualifying, but due to the high track temperatures it’s unclear at present how to choose between compounds beyond that. It’s been a strange weekend so far, with very high ambient temperatures that are very unusual for Spa at this time of year and it’s predicted to stay that way so we will look at everything we have learnt today and put it into practice for tomorrow and the race.”