Kovalainen upbeat after aero test

Autosport

Heikki Kovalainen expects Caterham to take a step forward at Hockenheim this weekend after a successful straightline test of the team's upgraded car on Wednesday.

GP2 driver Rodolfo Gonzalez completed the test at Lurcy-Levis in central France on Wednesday and the data gathered has convinced Kovalainen that the car will perform on track as was predicated in simulations.

Caterham did not have time to hone the set-up of its upgraded machine, which features modified exhausts and sidepods, a new radiator exit, a modified front wing, floor tweaks and a new engine cover, at Silverstone because of the lack of dry running.

"Had we had more dry running, we would have been able to attack this problem earlier," said Kovalainen. "Before the race, we had been planning to do some straightline testing which we weren't able to do because it was raining because we didn't really have any numbers to work with.

"Before this weekend, we were able to do a proper aero run to get some numbers and an idea of how we want to balance the car. Hopefully we will start here with a better-balanced car and then extract more.

"It [the correlation] has been pretty much in line with what we expected. When you are working with the exhaust, it's a tricky area because it depends on the aero speed and the thrust you develop. This is partly why the car was not balanced at Silverstone at certain speeds."

Kovalainen's experience at Silverstone has convinced him that the car does have more downforce than it did previously.

But the priority at Hockenheim today is to improve the balance through a combination of further minor aerodynamic tweaks and a better setup.

"We had relatively too much rear grip at Silverstone, so the car was understeering, especially in the high speed" said Kovalainen. "It hurts your tyre wear so you need a good balance.

"At Silverstone, I had a coming together with [Jean-Eric] Vergne into Turn 6. I damaged the left side of the car and the front of the floor was damaged, so I lost a reasonable amount of performance.

"But the car was also out of balance. I was not able to attack the high speed like I wanted to and that's the reason why the performance level in the race was quite disappointing. We have an opportunity to do better than that."

View Comments (0)