Renault Sport Formula One Team enjoyed a mixed start on day one of the Emirates Japanese Grand Prix. While Kevin Magnussen had a straight-forward day and set the fifteenth fastest time, team-mate Jolyon Palmer lost out on morning track time due to a wiring loom-related issue. The Brit made up for lost time in the afternoon practice session by completing 40 laps around the legendary Suzuka Circuit.
Today's programme included evaluating the softer selection of Pirelli tyres. Previous years had featured hard and medium tyre compounds. This year sees the soft compound introduced. Kevin ran both medium and hard tyres in the morning while Jolyon sported the medium tyre only. In the afternoon, Jolyon divided his running between medium and soft tyres. Kevin evaluated the hard and soft compound. Jolyon's running in FP1 was limited after the engine wiring loom sustained damage and required replacing. He recovered well from lost time during FP2 and showed good long run pace.
Kevin Magnussen: "We completed a lot of running today and it went pretty well. I ended the day fifteenth fastest, which is always nice to see but it's only Friday and a bit too early to draw any conclusions. The car feels good; we have a bit of work to do now to get ready for tomorrow's qualifying but things so far are encouraging."
Jolyon Palmer: "It was a shame to lose time in Free Practice 1 this morning as I'd never properly driven here before. In contrast, everything was good in the afternoon and there's more pace in the car than my lap time showed. It's quite a technical circuit so I need to get the sequences just right, which is something to work on tomorrow. Otherwise, it feels as though we have a similar pace to that we had in Malaysia at this point. It bodes well for the rest of the weekend."
Bob Bell, Chief Technical Officer: We got through most of the programme today despite losing time on Jolyon's car with an electrical problem. It cut his session short during FP1 and lost us time normally used for information-gathering, but we recovered well in the afternoon and got what we needed in terms of data for qualifying and the race. It wasn't the best start to the weekend but we have a good idea on what we need to do over the next two days. The balance of the car is reasonably strong and I think that we will be able to maintain the level of progress we have seen in the last few races."