REPORT: Day 1 at Suzuka

Published on
05 Apr 2024
Est. reading time
3 Min

Tricky conditions proved disruptive on the first day of running in Japan

It was a disrupted first day of running for the team in Suzuka, as on-track action returned after a week off for round 4 of the Formula 1 World Championship.
Logan was the first of our cars to hit the Suzuka Circuit in 2024. Our American driver began FP1 by putting in some solid laps on the medium tyres, as we adjusted to some cooler temperatures and better grip than Suzuka normally affords.
His time on track was cut short, however, after he ran wide on the exit of turn 7, before catching the grass and losing control of his car.
It was a desperately unlucky end to his first practice session, and the red flag was brought out to bring the field back into the pit lane.
When the track was cleared with around twenty minutes left in FP1, Alex headed back out and put in a 1.31:943 – our best time of the first session – to take the chequered flag P12 in the standings.
During the break in proceedings Logan’s car was returned to the garage, and after assessing the damage the team decided the car would not be ready for FP2.
This proved to be of little consequence, however, as rain began falling over Suzuka as the afternoon wore on. The weather robbed most teams of making any meaningful progress in FP2, and so the first day of running petered out into an anti-climactic conclusion.
At the end of the day, Alex commented, "it’s hard to say where we are with so few laps; we would’ve liked to run more in FP2 as we didn’t feel very comfortable with the car after the first session.
"We tried to make some changes to improve this, however with limited running, we don’t have much to go off. Hopefully the setup will work for us into FP3 and we can learn more about the car ahead of Qualifying."
Logan added, "I put the car in a place I didn’t realise I was at. It’s a bit of a silly mistake and one that I shouldn’t be making especially in FP1.
"Fortunately, it wasn’t like the mistake last year when I over pushed. Nevertheless, I still left the team with some damage but got away better than it could’ve been."
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance, added that, "it was a shame that FP2 was affected by the rain, particularly as the conditions were never really wet enough for Intermediates nor dry enough for sensible slick running.
"Having lost Logan’s car early in FP1, and with Alex doing front wing testing in FP1, we were looking forward to a busy FP2, but the rain denied us that opportunity.
"Whilst Logan’s crash caused a lot of damage, it was limited to the suspension, wings and floor with no damage done to the chassis or PU. The extent of the damage meant that he was unable to run in FP2, but he will be back in action in FP3.
"We didn’t quite have the setup where we wanted it during FP1. We made some changes for FP2 and will now use FP3 to determine if we have gone in the right direction. Fortunately, the weather looks more stable for tomorrow so we should be set for a productive day."
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