Magnussen returned to the pits with a deflated left-rear tyre and the back of his car dragging on the ground following the failure, which fortunately was less dramatic from behind the wheel than the damage suggested.
“It was fairly easy to control as I was going straight, not in a corner, so I just lifted,” commented the Danish driver, who was side-lined for second practice as the team investigated what led to the incident.
“We know the cause of the failure and will have modified components for tomorrow,” technical director Nick Chester later confirmed. “But of course it is disappointing for Kevin that he didn’t get more track time.”
With Magnussen failing to get a Friday time on the board, it was left to rookie team mate Jolyon Palmer to complete the bulk of Renault’s programme. The Englishman completed a total of 48 laps, finishing 17th in FP1 and 15th in FP2.
“Jolyon wasn’t happy with the car balance initially and felt the car had too much oversteer but we got better through the session as we worked on it, and his run on the supersoft tyres was more encouraging,” added Chester. “We have more work to do overnight to improve the balance and both cars will be ready for tomorrow.”
Williams also got to the bottom of their FP1 woes - which initially looked similar to Renault's - after Felipe Massa twice suffered a deflated left-rear tyre. The problem was traced to a set-up issue with new vanes in the rear brake ducts having insufficient clearance and machining out the inside of the wheel rim as a result.