Maldonado did only two installation laps in the morning before he was forced to park the car, and a power unit change – including key components such as the V6, the turbo and the motor generator units – meant that he could not run in the afternoon.
Teammate Romain Grosjean also failed to log a lap time in the morning and his afternoon session was curtailed by a gearbox problem.
“We have to work and try to solve all our issues,” said Grosjean. “We are focusing on every issue we encounter. This morning we couldn’t do any laps, and this afternoon we burnt a cable which stopped the gearbox from working. Of course I don’t get out of the car with a smile when my car is parked out on track and is not working, and you do swear a little bit in your head, but as I’ve said before, it’s only the second race of the season and we always knew we would be starting on the back foot. We will get to where we want to be.”
“Our problems today were centered around the power unit,” said Maldonado. “Hopefully we have fixed everything ahead of tomorrow and will be able to do enough for FP3 and qualifying. It’s important for the team and it’s important for me to be able to test the car and push a little bit, as it was not the case in the first race. It’s tough as each time we’re expecting to be better and better. We’ve been working so hard, the mechanics, the engineers, together with Renault Sport F1. We just need to try and be strong enough to accept when we have a problem and as soon as everything is fixed, be ready to be out and attack immediately.”
Technical director Nick Chester admitted it had not been a great start to the weekend: “Not a great day, quite far from it in fact. Both cars were delayed in the morning with mapping issues. Pastor then suffered from a turbo-related problem with his car. This meant we needed to remove the engine and subsequently he was unable to run in the afternoon. Romain was able to get some more laps in the afternoon, however a wiring issue caused difficulties with his gearbox. More lessons learnt, and we’ll be focusing on getting as much mileage as possible tomorrow.”