Renault considering switching exhaust layout
Renault will analyse data from Friday practice overnight to determine whether it will run its new rearward-facing exhaust system in qualifying and the race this weekend.
Renault has pioneered a forward-exiting exhaust this season, but on Friday Nick Heidfled tested a more conventional layout to see if it had more development potential. The new diffuser system is still a metal prototype and 4kg heavier than the standard carbon fibre one that Vitaly Petrov was using on Friday, but the team has the option of using it over the rest of the weekend if it wants.
Heidfeld was fractionally quicker in the afternoon and said the test had been an overall success.
"These were two important sessions for us as we were able to try the new exhaust and diffuser," he said. "We had no technical issues which enabled us to work through a lot of our planned programme so we can now make a decision of where to go next with it.
"As I was evaluating the new parts I did a lot less balance work than I would have down otherwise. We also didn't do a high-fuel long run which we would normally as we focused on learning as much as we could with the new exhaust and floor.
"Even though it's quite cool the soft Pirellis are heating up pretty well so there were no problems in that regards and there was the usual difference between the two compounds. There's now a lot of work to see what we do with the floor and what happens with the weather. It was good that it was dry today but the forecast doesn't look as good for the next two days."
Petrov was also pleased with his Friday practice sessions, but a radiator leak means the team heads towards Saturday without any long-run testing mileage.
"I was pleased with today," said Petrov. "We did a lot of aero testing and worked on a number of setups. It was my first time on this circuit so I needed some time to get know it and understand how to drive here. Setup wise, we are not far away from a good car, even after our running was interrupted by a radiator leak which cost us a little bit of time in second practice. The soft tyres had more grip than we experienced with them previously. All in all, we were pleased with progress."