Red Bull packed up early Friday from Jerez due to various teething problems. Fellow Renault power unit squad Caterham also ended a bit early, as well.
The Leafield squad completed 76 laps this week, 54 of which came today with new recruit Kamui Kobayashi and at an unrepresentative best lap of 1:43.193. The team still said it had a “more productive Friday.”
The productivity ended, however, with a Power Unit component issue ending the day a little ahead of schedule.
On the bright side for Caterham, it got in 50-plus more laps than Red Bull this week, and 76 more than Lotus, which opted not to attend the Jerez test.
On the not-so-bright side, despite all the laps, that best time today was nearly 20 seconds off the leading times ran on Thursday, when the Mercedes-powered McLaren of Kevin Magnussen ended on top at a 1:23.276.
We’ll see the next steps of Caterham’s development process from here.
Brendon Hartley’s hopes of a points finish on his Formula 1 debut took a hit on Friday after the FIA confirmed the Toro Rosso driver will start the United States Grand Prix from the back of the grid due to an engine penalty.
Porsche factory driver and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso as a surprise replacement for Pierre Gasly in Austin, with the Frenchman tied up with Super Formula duties at Suzuka this weekend.
Hartley took to the track in an official grand prix session for the first time on Friday in Austin, marking his first run-out in an F1 car since a test with Mercedes in 20120.
However, FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer confirmed in his pre-race report that changes had been made to the power unit on Hartley’s Toro Rosso car since the last race in Japan, triggering a grid penalty.
Toro Rosso elected to take a new internal combustion engine, MGU-H, energy store and control electronics on Hartley’s Renault power unit, totaling a 25-place grid drop that will be applied after qualifying. Confirmation of the penalty is set to follow later today.
The penalty comes as a setback for Hartley, but was necessary as Toro Rosso found itself short on engine elements to get to the end of the season.
Hartley is not the only driver to have a penalty confirmed, with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne also taking new engine elements, also confirmed in Bauer’s report.
A new ICE, turbocharger and MGU-H for Hulkenberg will see him drop 20 places on the grid, while an eighth ICE of the year for Vandoorne will trigger a five-place drop.