Installation laps... We all know the drivers have to complete them, mainly on Fridays during Free Practice sessions... But do you know what the drivers are actually doing during the process? We caught up with Nico's Performance Engineer who is taking us through one of Nico's install lap from winter testing!
0:50 Nico is giving the "start engine" signal, showing two fingers at the same time. One is for "ignition", two for "fire the engine"
01:12 Nico engages 1st gear then uses the clutch paddle at the back of the steering wheel on the right
01:18 Nico is doing a "Data Zero". This allows the engineers to record data before the car goes on track
01:31 Nico presses the "pit limiter" button twice to confirm that it is engaged
01:33 The number on the dashboard's right-hand side currently shows Nico his speed, 60km/h as limited in the pitlane
01:38 First radio check at the end of the pitlane
01:43 Pit limiter off
01:45 Nico is "syncing" the gearbox -- fresh out of the pits, the gearbox needs to "learn" the positions of each gear ratio. The engineer will then confirm "gears are learnt" over the radio when the process has been completed
01:56 Nico is starting to use his KERS allocation by pressing the Boost button, to make sure the battery is working well. It goes from 99% to 92% remaining charge in this instance.
02:23 Nico is doing "engine revs" -- allows the engineers to monitor how the engine reacts when going quickly from low to high revs
02:30 Nico presses the RFA (DRS) button to make sure the system is working. RFA stands for Rear Flap Actuator -- the team's internal code for what is generally called DRS (Drag Reduction System)
02:32 The dashboard is showing Nico his current brake bias position. The driver will change it through a lever in the cockpit left-hand side but it can be difficult to know (without looking down, obviously!) which position is currently engaged
02:43 Another RFA system check
02:52 Nico deploys the KERS/Boost button, going from 92% to 81% (as shown on the dashboard)
03:04 Another RFA system check
03:13 Nico presses the "pit confirm" button
03:16 Then quickly confirms it again by pressing the radio button without actually talking. This burst of engine noise serves as confirmation for the engineers that he is pitting
03:25 Nico engages the pit limiter
03:29 Nico presses the neutral button, putting the car in neutral gear
03:33 Nico presses the clutch then the BPF (Bite Point Find) button to do a bite point check -- this is the mechanism for checking and calibrating the position of the clutch when it engages
03:37 Nico then presses the neutral button again to return to neutral
03:38 Nico switches the RS mode on (RS stands for Race Start), then switches the engine off