Nick Chester: Learning lessons

Were you pleased with the eight days of testing?
On the whole, yes. Given the time we had due to the late power unit swap, we can be pleased with how testing has gone. We’ve learnt a lot about how the car responds to different set-ups and completed a great deal of aero work, which is useful to check the correlation to the wind tunnel. We covered a lot of miles so we’ve been pleased with the reliability. Kevin had a good amount of laps, while Jolyon was a bit more unlucky, but over both drivers we put in a lot of laps. The driver feedback has been good; they have reported it is easy to drive and are generally happy with the car. We now need to give more grip and power to extract its maximum potential.

Did you encounter any surprises over testing?
The nature of testing is such that you will necessarily encounter some issues. Jolyon seemed to have more, unfortunately, for no particular reason. There are some areas we need to work on but others are relatively OK and all the major items are working reasonably well.

What can we expect in Australia?
Overall we have learnt that we have a fairly good baseline car, which is something we can run with and develop over the course of the year. There’s an amount of small tidy-ups we want to do post winter testing, as every team would do. Our aim is to go to Melbourne with all problems fixed, then concentrate on suspension and the usual aero development thereafter.

What kind of development programme will you have over the year?
We have a comprehensive development plan over the season: our aero programme is ongoing and we’ll be trying to bring bodywork updates to put more downforce on the car. In parallel we also have a suspension programme to bring mechanical updates, with sizeable upgrades scheduled for the first test after the Spanish Grand Prix.

What are the technical objectives for the season?
We will focus on developing the building blocks to help us progress for 2017. We want to improve reliability, develop the integration between the chassis and the power unit, all with the target of having a far more integrated car in the future. A lot of our focus is also about building the team and the infrastructure. 2016 is about getting the car out and learning lessons on track as we build the team rather than having set aspirations for on-track performance.