Fears over the complex nature of working on the 2014 cars were realized in Australia as both Caterham and Lotus saw their Friday running badly affected.
At Caterham, both Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson ran only one installation lap in first practice. Because of the time required to fix the problem, the Japanese driver didn’t run at all in second practice. Meanwhile rookie Ericsson did one lap in each of the sessions and may not be allowed to start if he has more problems on Saturday and doesn’t set a proper qualifying time.
Ironically Caterham was the most reliable of the four Renault teams throughout testing.
“That was a more difficult start to my first full Grand Prix weekend than I’d have liked, but hopefully that means we’ve got all the problems out of the way on day one,” said Ericsson. “This morning it was an electrical issue with the engine that meant I only did one lap – out on the main straight the power suddenly dropped but I was still able to get the car back to the pits and when we had a look at it we found it was an electrical problem so that was fixed over lunch.
“In the afternoon we were back out at the start of FP2 but this time, when I boxed, there was a hydraulics leak. A bit like with Kamui’s car, fixing anything like this under the engine cover takes a lot longer than it used to with the old engines, so that was the end of the session for me and more work for the boys.”
“One lap in both practice sessions is obviously not a good way to start the season, particularly after our reliability had been good in the Bahrain tests, but we know what the problems are on side and we’re all working very hard to fix them for tomorrow.
“The problem on my car was to do with the fuel system – it was fine on the installation lap but when I boxed we had a small fire under the engine cover which came from a fuel system leak. The fire was out immediately but when we’d found the problem we knew it couldn’t be fixed in time to run in FP2 so made the decision to remove the power unit so we could fix the issue and aim to run properly tomorrow.”Australian GP, Caterham, Formula 1, Kamui Kobayashi, Marcus Ericsson