Typically fierce heat and humidity once again greeted the teams for today's opening free practice sessions for Round 2 of the 2014 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, taking place at the Sepang International Circuit near Kuala Lumpur.
This morning's Free Practice 1 session was largely aero oriented, with an evaluation of different rear wing configurations and a front wing development, along with an exploration of different cooling options. The team also worked through an ERS development programme examining qualifying and race scenarios. Jules Bianchi had a reasonably productive session, while Max Chilton experienced an electrical issue with his car which prevented him completing more than 10 laps. The problem, which arose midway through the session, was identified and solved in time to secure one further crucial lap at the end of FP1.
This afternoon's session didn't get off to the best of starts for Max again. He spun on his first timed lap and lost time while his car was retrieved from Turn 3, but the Team turned things around sufficiently quickly for him to benefit from plenty of track time during the second half of the session. Jules enjoyed a trouble-free session once again and was able to work his way steadily through the programme.
Max ended the day in 18th position with a best lap of 1:43.638, while Jules achieved a time of 1:43.752 and was 19th.
Max Chilton: "It was good to be back in the car. We learned so much from the masses of data we gathered in Melbourne and there really is so much potential for development with the car that it's nice to start making in-roads into that. This morning we were compromised quite a lot by an electrical problem and this afternoon ended better than it started. I spun on my opening lap but we got the car back quickly and I was still able to achieve quite a lot of track time, so it was a good recovery. There's still plenty of work to be done to improve the balance but we ticked a lot of boxes."
Jules Bianchi: "It has been a pretty straightforward day for me. We did some good work looking at the aero options for the rest of the weekend here and also some more general work with the ERS system to help us improve for qualifying and the race. We have made some improvements during the two sessions and I think if we can maintain this good direction we can have a positive time here in the race on Sunday. We have had no major issues, which is good from a reliability point of view."
John Booth, Team Principal: "Today has been a good day, with much more track time with both cars. Jules completed all of his planned programme and was able to generate a lot of data, which will enable us to make better decisions overnight with regard to improving the performance of the cars. With Max, we did have an issue this morning with the electronics on the car, however the engineers and mechanics worked well together to change parts on the car and get the car running again before the end of the session. This afternoon both cars ran to programme and we have completed the normal sequence of short and long run tyre evaluations. We are once again happy with our reliability and the car is coping well with the heat, so we can be confident for the race in this respect. Tonight will be about gaining more performance, which I'm confident we can find."
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