Kimi Räikkönen had his first taste of the E21 on track during the third day of testing in Jerez, Spain, ending the day with the 4th fastest time after a programme of aerodynamic assessment.
A crisp morning gave way to glorious blue skies as the team ran through a variety of exhaust evaluations. Running for Kimi ended early due to a clutch issue. Kimi Räikkönen will take the wheel of the E21 for final day of the Jerez test tomorrow.
Track: Jerez, Spain, 4.4km
Weather: Sunny, ambient 5-18°C, track 7-26°C
Programme: System checks, temperature monitoring, data correlation, evaluation of the performance of the car with its initial aerodynamic package.
Laps Completed: 40
Classification: P4, 1:19.200
Interruptions: Running curtailed early (clutch).
Kimi Räikkönen: “It was good to get behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car again. The E21 feels quite good so far, even if the balance isn’t quite to my liking yet. That didn’t stop us going through the programme we wanted to do which had a lot of aero runs in it. We know the car can go faster, we were just running through what we needed to achieve. It’s a shame that we had a clutch issue at the end of the day, but that’s why we come testing so we can find these problems and fix them.”
“It feels better than last year at this time. I think we have a good car, but how good it is this year we will only see it during the races and during the season. But it is not a bad start. The changes are not massive but it feels better,” he said. “We are missing some parts but there is no bad point on it. It is a normal first day. We did one change and used only the hard tyres. We still don’t have all the parts that we will run in the races and we had last year, so it only can get better. It is not too bad. We did some work on the seat, like is normal for the first test. You make the seat at the factory and then it feels OK, but you can only tell when you drive. It is OK now for tomorrow and we can start the day properly.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “Although we haven’t covered as many laps as we have on the previous two days we have still have been very productive. We spent much of the morning testing various exhaust exit specifications for our Coandă system. The car isn’t yet fully to Kimi’s liking, but we improved this through the day. We still have work to do with the balance, which is something we’ll work on tomorrow. Running ended early for us with a clutch failure which we’re investigating, but overall we’ve had a productive day of aero and exhaust testing.”
Q: How would you assess the first three days of running with the E21?
AP: Everything we’ve seen so far has been positive. Romain had two days in the car and was quickly up to pace and giving positive feedback. We were able to get a good idea of the performance of the 2013 tyres from the second day’s running. We’ve had Kimi in the car for a day now and been able to evaluate several of the different exhaust packages we have and also work on getting him happy with setup.
Q: Have there been any reliability concerns?
AP: We’ve had nothing major to concern ourselves with, which is promising. Of course, it hasn’t all been perfect but that is what testing is for; to refine the car and expose any weaknesses it may have. At the end of today’s running we had a clutch issue which prevented us from going on track for the last hour. This is something we’re investigating; hopefully it’s something we can identify and prevent from happening in the future.
Q: There seem to be long periods where the car is in the garage; what’s happening behind the screens?
AP: A variety of things. We started today with a fairly complex pressure array to measure the effect of different exhaust exits which was fitted overnight and took around an hour to remove completely. We could also be changing the exhausts themselves which means removal of the rear bodywork, or moving the ballast around which requires a fair amount of strip-down of the car, or checking over the car after a shake-down or installation lap; all of these procedures take a reasonable amount of time Sometimes we’re just having lunch.