SYNOPSIS The team had a difficult start to the weekend when a newly introduced gearbox component failed in both cars in the first practice session on Friday. This required both drivers to sit out the session while remedial work was undertaken.
The team had a difficult start to the weekend when a newly introduced gearbox component failed in both cars in the first practice session on Friday. This required both drivers to sit out the session while remedial work was undertaken. While Kazuki had an untroubled second session and started to gain valuable track time, Nico's differential lock was not working and it was not possible to correct during the session. The decision was taken to continue practice albeit the car was far from optimal. Saturday morning's practice was thus important in order to progress set-up work with both cars running at full pace without any reliability issues. Qualifying was compromised by the red flag in Q2, with Rosberg having to contest Q3 on used option tyres and Kazuki losing the opportunity for a second flying lap.
Rosberg had a very strong start to the Grand Prix on Sunday, moving up three places to fourth on the first lap. He held station in this position for the first stint, climbing up to second as cars ahead of him made their first stops. Kazuki by contrast had an eventful first lap, finding Vettel's Toro Rosso sideways across the track blocking his way in turn one. The collision required a return to the pits for a new nose assembly.
Rosberg completed his two stop plan largely unaffected by the various safety car periods, but a decision was taken on the pitwall to modify Kazuki's strategy to a single stop. A hard charge by Rosberg prior to his second stop enabled him from lap 49 to hold third place to the flag. Kazuki however visited the pits for a third time after damage to the front of his car in an incident involving Robert Kubica's BMW when a train of cars backed up into a corner. He rejoined to finish in seventh place and drove strongly to the end. He was subsequently promoted to sixth following Barrichello's disqualification for not observing the pitlane red light.
The absence of traction control contributed to an eventful race. As Nico Rosberg commented, "We saw lots of incidents in yesterday's race, due I am sure in part to the Grand Prix being the first since the banning of traction control. As much as thanking the team for everything they did, I have to say a big thank you to Toyota too as one of the most significant virtues of our engine is that is very driveable. This was a great asset to have since the loss of driver aids and helped me to have a strong race considering that only seven cars made it home."
Kazuki pitted on three occasions on laps 1, 29 & 48, making his first and last stop for a new nose
TYRES & FUEL
Nico Rosberg: Medium-Medium-Soft
Kazuki Nakajima: Medium-Medium-Soft-Medium
Nico Rosberg: Stop 1, lap 21 (Kovalainen only two-stopping car to run further)
Kazuki Nakajima: Modified strategy to one stop
SYSTEMS & RELIABILITY
Both FW30s demonstrated 100% reliability during the race, although Friday practice was interrupted by two resolvable faults with the transmission.
The team is currently in transit to Malaysia for this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix. Nico Rosberg will attend a driver day in Singapore for RBS on Tuesday 18 March.
"It was a good start to the season for us. Clearly Friday's problems, which were easily resolved, cost us the opportunity to progress smoothly but we managed to get back on track by Saturday, albeit our qualifying session was not optimal. Both drivers performed well in different ways during the race, Nico keeping clear of the various on-track incidents and running competitively throughout the race, while Kazuki demonstrated a calm approach in coping with the various problems he encountered to finish in the points. Approaching this weekend's race at Sepang, we will be focusing on preparing better on Friday to help our qualifying and race effort."