REPORT: A busy Saturday at Suzuka

Published on
06 Apr 2024
Est. reading time
3 Min

Alex and Logan qualified P14 and P19 respectively after a full day’s running in Japan.

A solid drive saw Alex get into Q2 on Saturday in Suzuka, while Logan will start from P19 for the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix.
The day began with some important learning in FP3, as both cars managed a full hour of data collection, with flow-vis paint prominent on our FW46.
Logan managed 20 laps – the best of which was a 1:31.452 – while Alex’s PB after 23 laps was a 1:30.533, enough for P11 in the morning.
And so to qualifying, in front of a capacity crowd in Suzuka. It was a highly competitive session, and Logan – though he improved on his FP3 time by over a second – could only manage P19, just two tenths shy of the benchmark for Q2.
Alex elected to save a set of tyres in the second part of qualifying, and his single run was enough for P14.
"We’ve been struggling a lot this weekend and I didn’t feel comfortable in the car, which is frustrating but it’s where we expected to be," Alex shared as he reflected on Saturday.
"The way we’ve gone with the car, we’ve made some corners better but also, it’s made some worse.
"Around this circuit, you can’t be sliding because the track is so aggressive and it tears up the tyres.
"Normally we can get away with this when the track is smooth, but when it’s rough like this, we pay quite a big price.
"I also suffered a lot of overheating and when you’re having to do tyre management through corners to save the tyres, it’s tricky to manage.
"Looking to tomorrow, the car felt okay in the few long runs we’ve done during FP3, however strategy is going to be important, so let’s see how we go."
On the other side of the garage, Logan was pleased with the progress made following a disrupted first day.
"After what happened yesterday and only getting a few laps in FP3 this morning, it was a pretty good turnaround," Sarge commented.
"We put the car in a good place for Qualifying considering the limited amount of running and made the right decisions.
"I don’t think there was a lot left on the table. A tenth and a half from Q2 just shows how tight it is.
"I’m pretty happy with the way I drove but we’re missing a little bit this weekend as a team in terms of pace.
"Tomorrow will be a bit of a degradation race and how we manage that in Sector 1 will be key.
"We’ll try have a good start, manage the race and hopefully that leaves us in a decent spot."
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Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance, wrapped up our Saturday reaction from Suzuka by sharing: "In contrast to the disruptions yesterday, today was productive with both drivers getting through their planned programmes in FP3 and completing several setup tests.
"Based on the FP3 experiments we were able to adjust both cars ahead of Qualifying and improve the setups as a result.
"In Qualifying, both drivers did a good job and although Logan missed out on Q2, his pace was close to that of Alex, and he did well to recover from a lack of running yesterday.
"Alex did a good job throughout the session and although there was probably a small amount of laptime that he missed in Q2, 14th is a fair reflection of the current car pace.
"Both drivers found it tricky to manage the tyres even over a single qualifying lap and so tomorrow is going to be quite a challenge as they look to balance pace and degradation.
"The weather is likely to be dry and warmer tomorrow, which will also affect the degradation of the front axle relative to the rear, and this will simply add to the difficulty of racing."
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