27 February 2016
Barcelona F1 Pre-season Test : Haryanto admits to big step up from GP2
Two spins and a 20-fold increase in engineers were just a couple of indications that convinced Rio Haryanto that he had made it to F1.
F1 rookie Rio Haryanto says he hopes to be up to speed with his new surroundings by the end of next week's group test in Barcelona, after his first taste of life as a full-time Manor racer proved an eye-opener for the Indonesian.
Haryanto, who steps up from the GP2 Series for 2016. suffered a couple of near-identical spins during his two days of running at the Circuit de Catalunya, and admits that he needs to find his feet quickly or risk being left behind heading to the season-opener in Melbourne in mid-March.
"I am still here learning and there are still two more days for testing, so I will try to do my best to learn as much as I can before the first GP," the GP2 racewinner confirmed, "I am getting more confident with the team and the relationship with the engineers and, hopefully, I'll feel comfortable by the end of the second test.
"Yesterday, I was still learning and I already felt a step better in the relationship with the team. Day by day, I will get used to it, but it is interesting coming from GP2 to F1. It is a huge difference. In GP2, you only work with two engineers but, in F1, you work with 30 or 40! A lot of people involved and procedures to follow, so it is a big change but, by time, I will get used to it."
While frustrated with his spins, which both occurred at turn four, Haryanto admits that he is making a big step between his previous series and the top flight.
"I was getting used to the car and finding the limits of the car, so I went in a little too hot," he conceded, "Unfortunately, there was damage on the car so we couldn't finish the afternoon session, but we had good morning sessions where we managed to follow our run plan and managed to find improvements with the car. Hopefully, I could still learn more for the next one.
"Every time we go out, there have always been some set-up changes and I want to improve myself. I am pushing hard to get the maximum out of me and the car and we see today I make a mistake. I have to learn from that and not repeat again.
"It is tough. We are all here trying to improve the car. We have a new car, a new development and all I can say is the difference between the old car - because I tested it - compared to this one are huge steps of development and performance. I am learning from my side and, from the team, we try to build as much of a relationship before the first GP. I think that is the key to get our target."
Manor racing director Dave Ryan accepts that Haryanto - and team-mate Pascal Wehrlein - faces a steep learning curve with the equivalent of just four days of testing before making his race debut and is ready to give to rookie time to adjust.
"They've both got a fair bit of racing under their belts - Pascal in particular has got a lot of experience given his age - so we have to trust them," the Kiwi commented, "We've got all our own engineers and their way of looking at things and calibrating things so they can see whether what they're saying falls in line with what we expect. Overall, it's a pretty good balance and we can cope with that.
"To be honest, I would have been surprised if [Haryanto] didn't have a couple of incidents. As long as he learns from it, it's fine. It hasn't cost us, let's just get on with it and see how it turns out."
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