Caterham drivers prepared for Singapore heat

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Caterham drivers Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic have both spoken about their preparation for the upcoming Singapore Grand Prix, which will take place next weekend.

The race, held at Marina Bay, is the only event on the F1 calendar that starts and finishes in darkness, making it a unique grand prix for fans of the sport and also the drivers, teams and all personnel involved in the sport. Being a night race, they are required to remain on European time throughout the weekend and judge their sleeping patterns to negate jet lag. However, the heat is one of the biggest problems, but Charles Pic is confident of acclimatizing quickly.

“We start preparing for races like Singapore way back in winter with the hours put in training, and then fine tuning the physical and mental preparation in the week leading up to the race,” Pic said in the team’s GP preview. “I’ll arrive earlier than I would for a European race so I can start acclimatizing to the heat, and my fluid intake over the week will increase each day to the point where I’ll take on up to five or six litres of liquid before the race starts.

“That’s one of the keys to performing to the maximum – being properly hydrated means you can focus 100% in the car, and that’s vital around a circuit as technical as Singapore.”

Giedo van der Garde is confident that the team can continue its impressive run of form in Singapore, with the circuit suiting the CT-03 car.

“I think this could be one of the circuits that suits us, a bit like Monaco,” the Dutchman said. “You need to have the confidence to be able to push around what are usually normal city streets, and I think we showed in Monaco that that sort of challenge is exactly what we like!”

The drivers will also be present for the launch of Caterham’s new ultra-high performance roadcar on Friday in Singapore.

Hartley happy with ‘big progression’ on first day with Toro Rosso

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With 69 laps completed (28 in free practice one and 41 in free practice two) and respectable lap times in both sessions, Brendon Hartley quickly acclimated to a modern day Formula 1 chassis in his first run with Scuderia Toro Rosso in Friday practice for the United States Grand Prix.

The Porsche factory driver has been drafted into the team following a convoluted series of musical chairs that sees Daniil Kvyat back after a two-race absence, Carlos Sainz Jr. now at Renault and Pierre Gasly racing at the Super Formula season finale in Suzuka.

Over the time in the car today, Hartley experienced changeable conditions in FP1 before a more normal FP2, and discovered the new F1 cockpit after a day learning in the garage yesterday.

“A steep learning curve today! It all went pretty smoothly and I kept the car on track without making too many mistakes, so I’m quite happy,” the New Zealander reflected at day’s end.

“I didn’t really know what to expect from today because I just had so much to learn! I think I made quite a big progression throughout the day.

“The biggest difference from what I’m used to is the high-speed grip, it’s incredible here in Formula 1…it was quite an eye-opener! Another challenge are the tires, which are also quite different to what I’m used to. On the other hand, the long-run looks quite positive and I did a good job managing the tires there – the biggest thing I need to work on now is the new tire pace, and I’ll get another crack at it tomorrow morning before qualifying.

“All in all, I’d say it’s all coming together. We’ll now work hard and go through plenty of data tonight and hopefully I’ll make another step forward tomorrow.”

His best lap was 1.1 seconds up on Friday driver Sean Gelael, the Indonesian Formula 2 driver, in FP1 (1:39.267 to 1:40.406, good enough for 14th) and 1.1 seconds off the returning Kvyat in FP2 (1:37.987 to 1:36.761, good enough for 17th). Interestingly, the Gelael/Hartley combination in FP1 marked the second time in three races that Toro Rosso had a pair of drivers in its cars without a single Grand Prix start between them – Gasly’s debut at Malaysia was the other, when he and Gelael were in in FP1.

Coming into Friday’s running, Hartley said he was more ready for this opportunity now than he had been as a teenager. He admitted he’d called Red Bull’s Helmut Marko in the wake of Porsche’s LMP1 withdrawal news earlier this year to say he was game for any chance that might come.

“I’m a lot stronger than I was back then, basically. I wasn’t ready at 18 years old. I like to think I’m ready now,” he said.

“I haven’t driven a single-seater since 2012, but I like to think that Porsche LMP1 has hopefully prepared me well.”

As for the rest of his weekend, it’s been made more complicated by Hartley being assessed a 25-spot grid penalty, even though Hartley had done nothing to accrue the penalties.

The roundabout sequence of driver changes at Toro Rosso saw Gasly replace Kvyat, Kvyat replace Sainz, and now Hartley replace Gasly, as is outlined by NBCSN pit reporter Will Buxton below.