Renault Sport Formula One Team ran a three-driver set-up for the opening day of the Formula 1 Grosser Preis von Österreich with race drivers Jolyon Palmer and Nico Hülkenberg joined by Third and Reserve driver Sergey Sirotkin on track. Sergey ran in Nico’s car in the morning, with the German returning for FP2 to post the ninth fastest lap, at 1 min 06.735secs. Whilst Sergey and Jolyon had smooth morning sessions, Jolyon’s afternoon was interrupted by an electrical problem.

Alan Permane, Sporting Director - Technical programme notes
• In FP1, Jolyon used Pirelli’s Supersoft (red) and Sergey used Soft (yellow) and Supersoft tyres. Both drivers ran aero assessments.
• In FP2 Jolyon ran the Soft tyres while Nico ran with the Supersoft and Ultrasoft (purple) tyres. Jolyon’s session ended early due to an electrical problem after completing seven laps.

What we learned today:
• It’s about car balance in Austria

Sergey Sirotkin, #46 R.S.17-04
Free practice 1: P17, 1:08.586, 27 laps

Sergey: “It felt nice to have a clear session this morning and get some good laps in with the R.S.17. Having not driven the car in the last few weeks, I could feel the impact of the development as the car has definitely improved from before, so it is nice to see that the team is moving in the right direction. We worked through a decent programme and I can’t wait for my next FP1 opportunity.”

Nico Hülkenberg, #27, R.S.17-04
Free practice 2: P9, 1:06.735, 42 laps

Nico: “The afternoon went okay for me. As I was only out in FP2, I had a little bit of catch-up to do, but I got in to the groove quite rapidly. I had a decent run on the Ultrasoft tyres whereas the long runs looked a bit more challenging on the harder compound. I struggled a little with car balance in this afternoon so there is a bit more ground work to be done to improve the overall package.”

Jolyon Palmer, #30, R.S.17-03
Free practice 1: P14 1:07.649, 31 laps
Free practice 2: P18, 1:07.623, 7 laps

Jolyon: “I had a positive morning as I was happy with the car straight away and it felt like the best FP1 out of the box for a while. We did a bit of fine tuning and I was feeling quite confident and comfortable on the track. It’s a shame we had an electrical problem in the afternoon and couldn’t get more laps in. The team is looking into it and the car should be good to go tomorrow morning.”

Nick Chester, Technical Director: “Sergey did everything required of him in FP1; completing the planned programme of balance and aero assessments. Jolyon had a clean FP1 without any problems where we evaluated different aero set-ups. He was forced to end his FP2 early due to an electrical issue, which was obviously unfortunate. Nico’s FP2 went well after sitting out FP1. He put in a good lap on Ultrasofts to end up in P9, which puts him in a good place. All three drivers delivered well today and gave positive feedback on the car. We have a bit of work to do with balance tomorrow but we are where we expected to be and we look forward to seeing what we can get out of the car for qualifying.”