Italian Grand Prix Practice – Lotus Renault GP

Turn Up The Sun – Italian GP, Friday 9 September 2011

Vitaly and Bruno began their assault on the final European race of the season, as they wrapped up two respectable practice sessions at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza.

Rod Nelson, Senior Performance Engineer – Technical programme notes
• The usual Friday analysis of the tyres was part of our work today, but our key focus was looking at the aero package we have put together for this race.
• As it’s Monza, all teams have packages with a similar level of downforce; we are reasonably happy with the performance of the new aero parts we have brought with us.
• Both Vitaly and Bruno commented on difficulties experienced when braking, but it is not cause for too much concern because the cars have not run with this little downforce since the Italian GP last year.
• Cumulatively, the drivers ran a total of 69 laps today; the objective of this exercise was to get a feel for the balance of the car on its low downforce configuration. To become accustomed to braking on a heavy car, a lot of today’s running concentrated on using high fuel loads.

What we learned today:
• The new aero package appeared to be performing in line with our wind tunnel and CFD simulations.
• A few issues were experienced with both cars; Vitaly lost two or three tenths on his fast lap, but we expect to be more consistent tomorrow.
• The running we completed on both Pirelli’s medium and soft tyres suggested that the race could offer a multitude of strategy choices; both compounds were consistent and showed low degradation.

Bruno Senna, R31-06
Free practice 1: P16, 1:27.385, 23 laps
Free practice 2: P10, 1:25.325, 38 laps

Bruno: “Today was a lot more straightforward than on the Friday in Spa, and I managed many more laps, which is absolutely crucial for me. We had been working steadily to ensure that we came away on a Friday with signs of progression, and I think it’s clear we’re going forward. I’m beginning to understand the car better, and I believe I’m moving in the right direction but there’s still scope to improve tomorrow. There’s definitely more to take from the car, and Saturday is a crucial day in which to prove that. I’m really loving being out on-track and looking forward to what awaits me over the weekend.”

Vitaly Petrov, R31-05
Free practice 1: P6, 1:26.625, 20 laps
Free practice 2: P11, 1:25.450, 31 laps

Vitaly: “The practice sessions went ok today, principally because on paper we achieved everything we set out to do. That’s always reason for satisfaction, but naturally we are looking to up our game in terms of lap time because we know there’s more to squeeze out of the car this weekend. We’ve put together a bespoke Monza low-downforce set-up which we are confident could reap rewards come Sunday. Our spirits are up and we hope to translate that into a constructive next two days.”

Did you know?Vitaly secured a pole position at Monza during his GP2 days in 2009.