Friday the Thirteenth made its presence known for Renault Sport Formula One Team for the first day of the Pirelli Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Third and Reserve Driver Esteban Ocon took to the wheel of the R.S.16 for the first time, sitting in for Jolyon Palmer in FP1, however a puncture and a battery issue curtailed his running. Jolyon returned to his car for the afternoon and was also a victim of a puncture, which limited his laps. In contrast, it was a trouble-free day for Kevin Magnussen who completed 70 laps over the course of the two 90-minute practice sessions.
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director - Technical programme notes
Esteban was unlucky to suffer from a puncture and then a battery-related issue in FP1 so was unable to complete his planned programme.
Jolyon also suffered a puncture early in his session but was able to return to the track for the final twenty minutes.
Kevin ran with an aero rake in FP1 and conducted aero assessments including back to back front wing evaluations. He ran tyre assessments in the afternoon.
Pirelli’s medium (white) tyres were used in the morning, the medium, soft (yellow) and hard (orange) tyres in the afternoon.
Esteban Ocon, #45, R.S.16-03
Free practice 1: P22, No Time Set, 6 laps
Esteban: “I was really looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the R.S.16 so it was a shame that Friday the Thirteenth decided to pick on the team and I! I did get a brief amount of time in the car, but I didn’t even get a timed lap so it’s too early for any real thoughts about driving the car as I didn’t have an opportunity to really push. The team could see the tyre was losing pressure so I was brought in. I waited in the garage until I could go back out on the next set of tyres then the battery had an issue so it definitely wasn’t my day! I can’t wait to get back in the car on Tuesday for a full day of testing.”
Kevin Magnussen, #20, R.S.16-02
Free practice 1: P11, 1:26.576, 30 laps
Free practice 2: P14, 1:26.244, 40 laps
Kev: “Grip levels felt pretty low in the morning but things improved through the day. It looks like I was definitely on the lucky side of the garage today so I hope the luck holds for the rest of the weekend. We’ve got a good idea of where we want to go after today and I think our pace is around where we expected it to be.”
Jolyon Palmer, #30, R.S.16-03
Free practice 2: P17, 1:26.770, 16 laps
Jo: “That was pretty unfortunate. We don’t know what caused the puncture and it was frustrating to lose so much track time. We thought we might not be able to get out again after the car was recovered, however my crew was able to do a fantastic job to repair the damage so I’m thankful for those laps at the end of the session. Fortunately, Barcelona’s a track I know well so I’m looking forward to a busy day behind the wheel tomorrow.”
Nick Chester, Technical Director: “Not quite the day we wanted although the positive is that Kevin had a good day of running. Esteban did a good job for his brief time in the car and we’re looking forward to him getting a proper crack at the whip in next week’s test. His puncture looked to be a clear cut case of a small piece of debris piercing the tread and we have no ongoing concerns about the battery issue which subsequently stopped him running. Jolyon was also unfortunate with a puncture and we are working with Pirelli to understand the cause. We were able to get him back out later in the session for 11 laps on the soft tyre and we have a reasonable amount of data to digest from today. Barcelona’s a track we all know well so although we didn’t get all the laps we wanted, we still have a good idea where we’ll go in terms of set-up and strategy.”