Lotus Renault GP technical director James Allison has conceded that the Enstone-based outfit was disappointed following practice for the F1 2011 Monaco Grand Prix yesterday.
Nick Heidfeld and Vitaly Petrov were on the fringes of the top ten in both sessions, finishing up tenth and eleventh on the combined times [see separate story - click here
] and disappointingly Heidfeld's best lap was 2 seconds off the top time set by Fernando Alonso. Allison is hopeful though that the squad will be more competitive during the rest of the weekend.
“Neither driver got a clean lap on super soft tyres, which makes our leaderboard position look worse than normal,” he explained. “However, notwithstanding this I had expected us to be more competitive here than at other circuits. So we have some work to do to wriggle up the grid on Saturday.
“Both drivers reported understeer and a sluggish change of direction, so we will look at changing the car to deal with this without trading off mechanical grip in the slow speed corners as a consequence. Vitaly's moment at the end of second practice broke the front wing and damaged the right hand side suspension, but this will be straightforward to fix for Saturday.”
Heidfeld meanwhile confirmed that they still have quite a bit of work to do on the set-up of the R31, particularly when they are running on the super softs, which all the teams are sampling for the first time this weekend.
“First and foremost, it's a lot of fun driving here in Monaco. Of course, as drivers we all have to deal with the traffic – 24 cars on such a tight circuit makes it a challenge for all of us – and we saw that when I ran on the super soft as I didn't get a clean lap,” he added.
“It's been interesting though to be on different tyres – the softs and the supersofts. So, we will definitely be able to learn some things about our performance using those and that's what today is all about. On the supersoft tyres, the balance was not as good as I would have hoped but we will look into all aspects of both today's sessions and push on come Saturday.”
Petrov however, was a lot more upbeat, despite his off near the end of the second session: “We got pretty much all we wanted to get from our programme today. As we all know, this circuit is a different one and unique for us to drive on so it has been particularly useful to try things out,” he continued. “I managed to get practice on both the soft tyres and the supersoft, so we will be able to look at the data and see what how these tyres are performing on the track.
“I had an incident at the end of second session, which involved a little bit of oversteer followed by some understeer and I lost control. Generally, I think we are quite pleased with what we took out of today and we are looking forward to the weekend.”