Renault F1 Team began its Emirates United States Grand Prix weekend today with a smooth day’s practice at a crisp and chilly Circuit of the Americas in Austin.
Daniel Ricciardo ended the day as the team’s quicker driver, finishing fifth in Free Practice 1 and eleventh in Free Practice 2.
Nico Hülkenberg was sixteenth in the morning and thirteenth in the afternoon, though his high fuel pace in the second session was particularly strong.
Qualifying takes place tomorrow at 16:00 local time.
Alan Permane Technical programme notes
• Track conditions this morning were exceptionally cold with ambient temperatures 7C and track temperatures a little above 13C; feeling very similar to winter testing in February and March.
• Both drivers began Friday with installation runs on Pirelli’s 2020 test compound before switching to Soft (Red, C4) tyres.
• Feedback from the drivers included: the circuit feeling particularly bumpy, high-speed understeer in Sector 1 and low-speed oversteer through the final complex of corners.
• Conditions warmed for FP2 (14C ambient, 23C track) and both drivers made changes to set-up to find a better balance between ride and aero efficiency.
• After running the 2020 compound at the beginning, both drivers geared up to testing high fuel with Nico assessing Softs and Hards (white, C2) with Daniel on Softs and Mediums (yellow, C3).
What we learned today:
Our high fuel pace looks competitive but we have a little bit more to find on qualifying pace ahead of tomorrow.
Nico Hülkenberg, #27, R.S.19-04
Free Practice 1: P16, 1:36.124, 24 laps
Free Practice 2: P13, 1:34.988, 32 laps
Nico: “Our long runs certainly felt good, however, on low fuel, it was difficult to get in a rhythm. Hopefully we can find a balance there but, overall, the baseline isn’t too bad. The midfield looks quick and tight again, so it’ll be about extracting everything and being at the top end of that. The track is pretty bumpy, but that seems to happen year on year here. It gives it some character and makes it interesting in places. It’s part of the challenge in Austin and we have to cope with it.”
Daniel Ricciardo, #3, R.S.19-02
Free Practice 1: P5, 1:35.263, 29 laps
Free Practice 2: P11, 1:34.924, 29 laps
Daniel: “The morning session was pretty smooth but, in the afternoon, it seemed like others found a bit of pace. We’re not far off and I’m sure we can find a bit more. We’ll go through it all to find out which areas we can improve, but I think it’ll be small things. It’s good to be back driving here; it’s a great track, although it’s very cold! Clearly, people were talking about the bumps today but it is what it is. I prefer it like this, rather than it being completely smooth; it all adds to the enjoyment factor and the challenge.”
Marcin Budkowski, Executive Director:
“Free Practice 1 was a bit tricky with the very low track temperatures, which weren’t quite representative of what we’re likely to see for the remainder of the weekend. We still had a productive morning evaluating the 2020 prototype tyres, which we ran again in the afternoon. We couldn’t find the perfect car balance in Free Practice 2 with the changing wind direction and both drivers didn’t put a clean lap together on their low fuel runs, so there are a few tenths in hand on both sides of the garage. Overall, it was a pretty decent day, especially as our pace looked strong on the long runs. As usual, it’s a very competitive midfield and we will need to get everything right to reach Q3 tomorrow.”