Australian Grand Prix Formula One free practice report
Formula One teams Australian Grand Prix free practice results
|6||Di Resta||Force India||1:31.466||2.283|
|24||De la Rosa||HRT||No Time|
Red Bull Racing
Friday 16 March 2012
AUSTRALIAN GP – FRIDAY PRACTICE
Car 2, Mark Webber
“We did learn a little today – but after nine weeks of anxious waiting it was a shame with the weather. Mother Nature played a big role and it made it quite challenging for everyone. We got some dry running at the end of each session, which was good. The track was drying out reasonably quickly, but there were still a few sections at the end that were damp. In the end we got what we could out of it, but we still have some work to do. It was compromised running for everyone; I’m looking forward to coming back tomorrow.”
Car 1, Sebastian Vettel
“I think obviously with the conditions it’s difficult to get a lot of running, but it was the same for all of us. The little time we had in the car this afternoon was okay, but now we have to find the balance and learn a bit more about the car. The important thing now is to make a step overnight and go from there. Track time is important when the car is still young.”
First Practice Session
Position: 5, Best Time: 1:28.467, Laps: 21
Second Practice Session
Position: 11, Best Time 1:32.296, Laps: 20
First Practice Session
Position: 11, Best Time: 1:29.790, Laps: 21
Second Practice Session
Position: 10, Best Time: 1:32.194, Laps: 19
A Formula One team is all about the people, but away from the racing what makes our team members tick? While we’re powered by Renault in the RB8 and away from track we enjoy the performance of Infiniti vehicles, Rob Marshall digs deep into his memory to recall how his passion for cars started and how it helped to ignite other passions as well…
MY FIRST CAR… was a 1965 MG Midget. It was red with a black interior, bucket seats and no roof and it was called Toulouse le Midget. I got it from a local farmer who clearly got bored of it; I paid 700 pounds, which was quite a lot then. It was a brilliant car and I have good memories of it. I once had a close call when I was driving past the pub I used to go to at university. I was clearly showing off, it was wet and I put my foot down a bit too hard and went spinning across the road into the oncoming traffic. I emerged the other side half on the pavement, luckily unscathed. In the end the engine blew up and I couldn’t afford to re-do it. I bought an MGA after that, which was particularly good as the handbrake was in the foot well of the passenger seat. To put it on, you had to lean across, which meant when you had lady passengers you could get a bit physical, which was always good. I still have that car now actually.
Chief Designer, Rob Marshall
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
2012 AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX FREE PRACTICE: “MASSIVELY EXCITED ABOUT THE REST OF THE WEEKEND”
Albert Park, Friday March 16
P1 programme 11 laps 1m27.560s 1st
P2 programme 18 laps 1m33.039s (+3.856s) 15th
“Even though it doesn’t mean too much, it’s always nice to start the season with the quickest time of the day. Our car feels very different compared with the last test – the circuit is different and the average corner speed is a lot lower, but the car is still working well for me.
“There are still a few areas where I think we can improve, and we didn’t get as many laps in today as we’d have liked, but it’s been a positive day. We did some set-up work this morning and then spent the afternoon understanding how the car reacts when running wet or intermediate tyres.
“The weather didn’t help, but it’s been the same for everyone. Overall, I think we’re quite happy, but there’ll be a lot of discussion tonight as we choose our direction for tomorrow.”
P1 programme 14 laps 1m27.805s (+0.245s) 2nd
P2 programme 11 laps 1m33.252s (+4.069s) 16th
“We spent the morning making sure we could switch the tyres on. Then, in the afternoon, we didn’t do any running in the wet because the forecast says it’s likely to be dry for the rest of the weekend. In those circumstances, it’s important to remain calm, look after the car and make sure we focus on the rest of the weekend. Tomorrow, it’ll be important to get out early in the session and maximise our dry running so that we can work on set-up and make sure our car is in the zone.
“Our car feels there or thereabouts but, as in testing, we don’t know the fuel-loads the others were running: it still looks close between ourselves, Red Bull and Mercedes. It’s going to be interesting tomorrow – we’ll get a better understanding of who’s going to be quick.
“I’m massively excited to see how the rest of the weekend goes.”
MARTIN WHITMARSH Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“After so many weeks of testing and talking, it’s exciting finally to get the season underway. As usual, Friday practice didn’t provide the answers many people were seeking – and, if anything, today’s changeable conditions meant the timesheets probably threw up a few more questions than answers – but it was nonetheless pleasing to get some productive running under our belts.
“With drier weather forecast for the remainder of the weekend, the focus now shifts to our engineers, who’ll be working hard to analyse the data in order to provide us with the best possible performance platform for tomorrow’s programme.
“If the showers hold off, it’ll be very important to hit the ground running in P3 tomorrow as a strong session will put us in a good position for tomorrow’s qualifying session. Despite the damp weather, today was a positive start to our weekend.”
Grand Prix of Australia
Melbourne, 16th March 2012
|First session||Second session|
First session: air 20/22 °C, track 21/23 °C. Variable conditions, damp track at the beginning then dry.
Second session: air 21/19 °C, track 24/21 °C. Variable conditions, wet track at the beginning then dry
The 2012 season has got underway in indecipherable fashion. After so many kilometres in winter testing at Jerez de la Frontera and Barcelona, today one could have expected a few indications from the first two free practice sessions of the Australian Grand Prix, however, the weather, which was to say the least somewhat variable, affected both FP1 and FP2. Therefore times from this first Friday of the season are even less relevant than usual. The two F2012 completed a total of 59 laps, just one more than Sunday’s race distance. The only incident of the day came in the morning, when Felipe went off the track, luckily without any consequence for either driver or car.
Fernando Alonso: “It is always a pleasure to be back at a Grand Prix after the winter break: everyone is out on track together and there’s the crowd, so it is always a nice feeling. It was a bit complicated trying to work through the programme we had planned for this Friday because of the weather. Therefore there is still a bit of work to do tomorrow before qualifying, but I think the others are in a similar position. I am reasonably satisfied with the car: the initial feeling as to its balance is positive. However, we have not done the usual comparison between the two types of tyre, because we ran mainly on the intermediates and the Mediums and these seem to be behaving quite well, as far as degradation is concerned. It was important to have everything working perfectly – from the KERS to the engine, from the power steering to the gearbox and everything else, as is always the case on the opening day of the season – and that’s how it went. There’s no point looking at the time sheet from today with a view to making predictions for qualifying. Tomorrow I expect to see a very mixed up grid because there are so many teams that have done a good job over the winter. We will try and do our best, putting together the best elements we have tried in the past weeks, including a few details we brought here. However, my opinion has not changed: we wait for tomorrow to see where we are compared to the others. But if I was to give some sort of opinion on the day, I would say it’s been positive. We did the important things, the balance is good and the car responds well to changes.”
Felipe Massa: “After over three months, finally we are back to what we drivers like best, namely racing. However, today was a rather difficult first day back, because we could not do as many laps as we had planned. The rain complicated matters in both the first and the second session. In the first one, I also went off track, which cost me a bit of time: as I was braking, I got the left rear wheel on the grass and the car took off on its own, only stopping in the gravel on the escape road. In the second session, the rain meant the track was wet for a long time and only towards the end was I able to fit the dry tyres. All things considered, it wasn’t really possible to understand much as to where we are compared to the others. I did too few laps to say if the car has changed since the last day of the Barcelona test. Tomorrow afternoon, in qualifying we will all run in the same conditions so we will finally understand something!”
Pat Fry: “Today was even harder than usual to interpret because of the weather. The track conditions changed very rapidly, making it very difficult to work through the programme we had set ourselves. Furthermore, as this is the first race, we chose to save a handful of kilometres on the engine. The opportunity to use one of the sets of tyres available today in the third session, will allow us to recover at least part of the programme tomorrow. Honestly, it’s impossible to give any sort of assessment of the performance of the F2012 and on the prospects for this weekend. We had said we must wait until tomorrow’s qualifying to know more, so you need to be patient for a further 24 hours! We too are very curious to know where we stand compared to the competition…”
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
2012 AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, MELBOURNE, 16 MARCH, PRACTICE
The 2012 Formula One season got underway today with MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS drivers, Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, taking part in the first two practice sessions in Melbourne ahead of Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.
· Overnight rain meant a damp track for the first session, with the use of dry tyres only possible in the final half hour
· A further heavy shower before the start of the second session again ensured little track action early on
· Nico and Michael were able to go out for one dry run just 15 minutes before the end of the session
· The pair completed 72 laps in total, and finished the second practice session with Michael in P1 and Nico P9
Drivers Car No. Chassis No. Practice One Practice Two
Michael Schumacher 7 F1 W03 / 05 17 laps 1:28.235 P3 16 laps 1:29.183 P1
Nico Rosberg 8 F1 W03 / 03 22 laps 1:28.683 P6 17 laps 1:32.184 P9
Temperatures Air: 18-21°C Track: 18-24°C
“Today was a nice start into a hopefully exciting season, and certainly two promising sessions for us. However, I would not go so far as to speak about being confident, as the weather conditions were too mixed to gain a clear picture. We know what Friday sessions are for and don’t know what fuel loads others were running. On the other hand, it is good to see that we were competitive in different circumstances today and that the car provides good handling – I just feel it.”
“I’m pleased with the start to our weekend today in these mixed conditions. We learned a lot for the race here in Melbourne over the two sessions, so it was a very productive day. I feel very comfortable in the car which is the most important thing for me today. So all went well and we had no surprises, however to find out where we really are compared to the others was impossible in these conditions. So I’m really looking forward to the next two days here.”
“It’s obviously been a patchy day with the weather conditions, however we have achieved a reasonable amount of work on varying fuel levels. Whilst the overall picture is still not clear, Michael and Nico seem quite happy with the cars at the end of today’s two practice sessions. Tomorrow should see a dry morning, and we will start to get a better perspective. Everything ran smoothly today which is a tribute to the team, and everyone at our factories in Brackley and Brixworth has done a very good job to prepare for this first race. So far at least, it’s going well.”
“A decent start for us on this first Friday of the new Formula One season. Michael felt well in our new car, as did Nico. Both drivers concentrated on race simulations with different programmes, and both were on the medium tyres as the team took the decision to save a set of options for the better track conditions tomorrow. Our team worked perfectly today which gave us a good start into the new season.”
Lotus F1 Team
Waiting So Long – Australian GP, Friday 16 March 2012
Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean took to the track for the first practice sessions of 2012 today, with variable weather affecting the opening day of the Australian Grand Prix weekend at Albert Park.
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director – Technical programme notes
We completed limited running due to the inclement weather; you learn little on a wet track and our forecast suggests dry days tomorrow and Sunday.
We ran with Pirelli’s full allocation of tyre types for this event; medium and soft dry tyres, and intermediate and wet tyres.
We changed the steering rack on Kimi’s car and the rear suspension set-up on Romain’s car during the first session.
What we learned today:
The E20 worked well on high fuel loads in the dry conditions at the end of FP2
We have a solid baseline wet set-up.
Kimi Räikkönen, E20-03
Free practice 1: P9, 1:29.565, 8 laps
Free practice 2: P18, 1:34.275, 7 laps
Kimi: “We didn’t really learn much from today due to the weather, but it’s the same for everyone. We tried a different steering rack in the first session. It would have been fine to run, but we knew that the base system would be better. The setup we have now is working well, it may take a while before we get it perfect but we’ll make the best of it. Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow and we’ll be happier after qualifying. I didn’t push too hard today; if it’s dry tomorrow we’ll have a better idea of what we need to do.”
Romain Grosjean, E20-01
Free practice 1: P16, 1:30.515, 16 laps
Free practice 2: P14, 1:32.822, 11 laps
Romain: “We waited to be able to go out on slick tyres, as we expect it to be dry for the rest of the weekend; there’s no point taking any unnecessary risks. The E20 feels very good and I’m happy with the balance of the car. I’ve been learning the track this afternoon and I’ve been focusing on improving my lap times as the day went on. We had to be patient, but we managed to get some decent laps in at the end and these were valuable. It’s a fantastic track and the changing scenery as you drive through the park is incredible. I feel comfortable and confident in the car and am really looking forward to qualifying.”
James Allison, Technical Director: “It was a day dominated by the weather. At this time of year your cupboards are not overflowing with spare parts so it would be foolhardy to risk damaging anything unnecessarily. The rest of the weekend is predicted to be dry, so discretion was the better part of valour. This meant we stayed in the box for most of the day. When it did look sensible to venture out on track we did so with both drivers and the E20 looked solid in the second session with a high fuel load. We have a baseline steering set-up for Kimi which works, but we tried a different option at the start of FP1. He wasn’t convinced by it so we went back to our baseline. As the conditions were not conducive to running we didn’t miss an undue amount of track time. Romain’s rear suspension set-up was not working as it should in the first session. We were able to rectify it for the second, and he was immediately happy with the car.”
Sahara Force India F1 Team
2012 Australian Grand Prix Free Practice Report
Sahara Force India made the most of mixed weather conditions in Albert Park as the 2012 season got underway with free practice for the Australian Grand Prix.
Paul Di Resta (VJM05/02)
FP1: P13 1:29.881 18 laps
FP2: P6 1:31.466 13 laps
Paul: “Difficult to say too much about the first or second session because the conditions were so inconsistent with the rain showers. Even so, we made the best of it and focussed on assessing the aero package we have here and managed to learn a few things. We also made some set-up changes between the two sessions and the car felt better in the evening, so that was positive. The difficult thing is that we didn’t really get an impression of where everybody is in terms of performance, so there are still lots of unknowns going into tomorrow.”
Nico Hulkenberg (VJM05/03)
FP1: P12 1:29.865 17 laps
FP2: P2 1:29.292 19 laps
Nico: “Both FP1 and FP2 had mixed conditions, especially FP2 with the heavy rain, which arrived just before the start of the session. But we made the best of it and I ran on the full wets, the intermediates and the soft tyres when the track had dried out. It’s difficult to read much from the times because not everyone ran the soft tyres and there were lots of different fuel loads, but the main thing for me is that I have a good feeling with the car already.”
Jakob Andreasen, Chief Engineer
“On days like this you just have to be patient and wait for the right opportunities, but it’s better to play the waiting game than run when the conditions are not ideal. Overall I think we were on track at the right times and on the right tyres, and it’s always worth going out even if there’s just a small thing you can learn. When we were on track we did some work evaluating our aero package and got some useful data. The most important thing is that we made the most of the dry periods to get the drivers into the rhythm of the track.”
Sauber F1 Team
Australian GP – Practice – Friday, 16.03.2012
Weather: showers, drying track, 19-21°C air, 18-21°C track
In changing weather conditions the Sauber F1 Team enjoyed a smooth first day of free practice at the start of the 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship. After some heavy showers the track was drying out during both sessions at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne. Both Sauber C31-Ferraris were reliable and, despite the tricky track conditions and a few breathtaking drifts, the drivers, Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Pérez, were quite happy with their first day of the Australian Grand Prix.
Sauber C31-Ferrari (Chassis 01/Ferrari 056)
1st Practice: 10th / 1:29.722 min (26 laps) / 2nd Practice: 5th / 1:30.709 min (14 laps)
“I am pretty happy, and I think overall the day went smoothly for us. We used intermediate and rain tyres as well as the medium compound of the slicks. Because of the changing track conditions, it was obviously not easy to learn much from today, so now we have to decide what to do and think carefully about the next steps for tomorrow.”
Sauber C31-Ferrari (Chassis 03/Ferrari 056)
1st Practice: 15th / 1:30.124 min (22 laps) / 2nd Practice: 3rd / 1:30.199 min 23 laps)
“We made a good improvement from the first to the second session, but it is extremely difficult to deal with today’s information as the conditions were not at all consistent. The third free practice tomorrow will be very important. We have to watch how the conditions develop and then really get everything right for qualifying.”
Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering:
“After all the speculation in recent weeks it was good to drive the first two practice sessions of the 2012 season. The target today was to prepare for the race. However, due to the changing weather conditions this was quite difficult. The positive aspect of this situation was we were able to run tyres which we didn’t run in testing – the intermediate and the rain tyres. This might not help for the race, because the forecast predicts dry weather. Nevertheless it was good to gather some data with these tyres. We had to wait for the right moments to have some dry conditions. However, on the mainly wet track it was not possible to learn a lot about tyre degradation, so it was good that Kamui was driving in race set-up at the end of free practice one. Also positive to mention is the fact there were no reliability issues on the car, so we are really looking forward to the remainder of the weekend.“
Scuderia Toro Rosso
2012 AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX – FRIDAY 16/03/2012
Jean-Eric Vergne (STR7-03)
First Practice Session
Best lap: 1:31.178. pos. 19th, 17 laps
Second Practice Session
Best lap: 1:34.485, pos. 20th, 29 laps
“My first Friday as a Formula 1 driver was a good feeling. Being the first driver out on track this morning was something special, but after that it was time to get on with all the usual work with the engineers and you forget about that side of it. This morning, we did not manage to complete all our programme, partly because of the rain. That made life difficult, but you know, it was really good fun, as I’ve never driven on rain tyres, which meant I did almost everything you could do today, in terms of trying tyres. I also did a long run, which was useful in terms of learning the circuit and there are still plenty of little details where I need to improve. But overall, I would say it was a positive first day and what I must do tomorrow is push more.”
Daniel Ricciardo (STR7-01)
First Practice Session
Best lap 1:28.908, pos. 7th, 23 laps
Second Practice Session
Best lap: 1:34.604, pos. 21st, 31 laps
“All the hype this week has made it feel as though this is my first F1 race again, but it’s not and I’ve just got to get on with things. It was a great feeling being back out on track here in Australia and I really enjoyed it. This morning went pretty well, very good even, while the afternoon was a bit mixed because of the weather. All the same, we managed to try most of the tyre compounds apart from the Option. The changing track conditions made it a bit ‘cat and mouse’: you’d go out on one tyre, then come in and wait for it to dry a bit and you had to be patient. This afternoon, I did a long run and I think we can still gain some more race pace and the good thing is I know what we have to do to achieve that. This track is very different to the two circuits where we tested this winter, but it looked positive, so I’m hoping to get a good grid position tomorrow. We’ll see what the weather does, but even if it rains, I expect there’ll be a big crowd to cheer us on.”
Laurent Mekies (Chief Engineer): “Overall this was a good day for us, with everyone happy to be racing here again. With the rain and changing conditions, it was not the ideal scenario for two young drivers to start their first race of the season and for one of them, Jean-Eric, his first real race weekend ever. But I don’t think we can complain about these conditions as it’s better to deal with them on a Friday than in the race. Daniel and Jean-Eric did a very good job to get as many laps under their belt as possible. They tried the Extreme wets, the Intermediates and the Mediums and our weekend has got off on the right foot.”
AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX PRACTICE
16 MARCH 2012
• Aero evaluations
• Tyre runs and set-up work
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: The weather dominated both sessions, with each session being declared wet and thereby limiting the base programme. Both the drivers and the team performed well and we completed the day’s running without issue. Despite the conditions, we learned quite a lot today, and look forward to what should be dry running throughout the rest of the weekend.
Pastor Maldonado: We completed the majority of our programme and did a longer run this afternoon. The car is performing well and we’re going in the right direction, but tomorrow we will see when we finally get into qualifying.
Bruno Senna: The conditions today cut our running a little, but it was the same for everybody. This afternoon we completed some simulations to gain a greater understanding of what the car is doing and we are still learning. In terms of pace, we will see what we can achieve tomorrow afternoon.
Caterham F1 Team Partner information
CNN was the first global news network to interview Australia’s first female Prime Minister Julia Gillard in November 2011
FP1: No rain during session, wet track at start, drying out during session, track temp 21° – 23°, air temp 20° – 23°
FP2: Rain in early part of session, drying out, air temp 21°, track temp 24°
Fastest laps / positions:
FP1: KOV 1.30.586, 17th / PET 1.31.983, 20th
FP2: KOV 1.31.932, 8th / PET 1.32.767, 13th
FP1: KOV 16 / PET 8
FP2: KOV 16 / PET 15
Runplan – FP1
1231 – 1233: Installation, 1 lap (wets)
1233 – 1332: System checks. Changes: front / rear brake blanking, brake balance, front wing flap angle
1332 – 1346: Run 2, 8 laps (primes)
1346 – 1351: Changes: new spec front wing, brake balance
1351 – 1403: Run 3, 7 laps (primes)
1232 – 1234: Installation, 1 lap (wets)
1234 – 1331: System checks. Changes: front / rear brake blanking, front wing flap angle
1331 – 1346: Run 2, 7 laps (primes)
Runplan – FP2
1713 – 1725: Run 1, 7 laps (inters)
1725 – 1745: Changes: front / rear brake blanking, new spec front wing
1745 – 1800: Run 2, 9 laps (primes)
1709 – 1713: Installation, 1 lap (wets)
1713 – 1716: Changes: brake balance
1716 – 1724: Run 2, 4 laps (inters)
1724 – 1744: Changes: new spec front wing, front wing flap angle, front brake blanking, brake balance
1744 – 1800: Run 3, 10 laps (primes)
Heikki Kovalainen, car 20, chassis CT01-#3: “The car felt good from the first proper run this morning and we found that the baseline we had set over the winter carried over exactly as we had planned into today’s practice sessions. It’s a shame that the conditions today meant that we couldn’t test the tyres more, but that’s the same for everyone, so the main thing was that we had a good balance all day, and kept improving the setup in both sessions. It’s also good to see that the new spec front wing that we ran both this morning and this afternoon is giving more grip overall, so that’s another positive step forward and puts us in good shape for tomorrow.”
Vitaly Petrov, car 21, chassis CT01-#2: “That was a reasonable day for me. The weather meant we weren’t able to try too much with the setups and we had a small problem this morning that cut short the final run, but one of the main things for me today is that I feel very comfortable with the team. We’re quickly building up a good relationship between me and the engineers and the mechanics, so as that keeps growing we’ll be able to get more out of the car and keep finding the pace that we know this car has.”
Mike Gascoyne, Caterham Group Chief Technical Officer: “Obviously the weather today made it a potentially difficult first day, but we got through most of what we had planned and it’s good to see that Vitaly was comfortable in the car from the first laps this morning. We ran all the tyre compounds bar the options today so we have some useful data to go through tonight and overall I think we look ok. It does look like the midfield group is going to be very tightly packed and I hope we can have a dry qualifying session tomorrow to find out just how competitive we can be.”
Riad Asmat, Caterham Group CEO: “It’s good to be back racing, and I think we can be pleased with the job we did today in pretty tricky conditions. We had a small issue with Vitaly’s car at the end of FP1 that the team worked very well on to fix in time for FP2 and I’m pleased that both drivers did exactly what we asked of them today – making no mistakes and getting as much out of their cars as they could without pushing too hard and putting themselves in a potentially difficult situation.
“We obviously can’t tell too much from the times today but it is encouraging to see that we are lapping consistently in the sort of times we have been aiming to. Now the focus turns to tomorrow when we will hopefully have more dry running and find out just where all the hard work over the winter has put us.”
HRT F1 Team
Marussia F1 Team
JUST GETTING OUR FEET WET
- Free Practice 1 & 2 for the Season-Opening Australian Grand Prix
- Albert Park Circuit, Melbourne
- Friday 16 March 2012
The opening free practice sessions for Sunday’s curtain-raising 2012 Qantas Australian Grand Prix were always going to be about the Marussia F1 Team getting their feet wet, as the team fielded its as yet untested MR01 race cars for the first time in competitive conditions. In that respect the team were not disappointed, as the Albert Park circuit witnessed warm, cold, wet and dry conditions during today’s three hours of running.
It was pretty much a case of ‘straight out of the box’ and onto the race track for Timo Glock and his new team-mate, rookie Frenchman Charles Pic, who made his own debut today when he drove for the first time in a Formula One Grand Prix weekend. As if the prospect were not already daunting enough, the changeable weather conditions made it difficult for him and every other driver to get into the groove of the usual Friday set-up and tyre evaluation programme.
It is “only Friday” as the saying goes in F1 circles, but everyone at the Marussia F1 Team couldn’t help but feel rather positive as Timo ended his first day with a brand new car in 12th position and the team’s young rookie had a very respectable first showing.
The heavens opened just in time for the start of this both of today’s sessions and the drivers were forced to gingerly tiptoe around the 5.303km circuit with the new car, desperate for more forgiving conditions with which to evaluate the package. They did manage some dry running which allowed both drivers to get a more representative feeling for the car.
Timo Glock #24
“I think it has been a difficult start to the weekend due to the weather conditions and we had to be a bit careful. For everyone it has been great to see the car out there and performing well at the moment. P1 I had already quite a good feeling but we were a bit unlucky at the end because we could only do one timed lap. In P2 difficult again at the start but in dry conditions I was feeling very positive and it was good to be able to follow Red Bull for more than three laps! When I got back to the garage I was a bit surprised to see myself in P12, which doesn’t mean anything at this stage, but equally it means a lot to everyone who has worked so hard through the winter and had a difficult time. There are a few smiles in the garage, which is nice to see. Let’s see what the rest of the weekend brings now.”
Charles Pic #25
“We have a lot to learn with the new car, so today was always going to be a challenging way to open my first season. The rain really frustrated our plans but we got some dry running and that means we have a feeling for the car and some data to start working with. My first impressions of the car are positive. We need as much running as possible and we didn’t get as many laps as I would have liked, but we did enough to highlight any problems with the car and there are none so far, so that is positive. A good start and I’m quite happy.”
John Booth, Team Principal
“It’s a little early to be getting carried away with ourselves but equally we couldn’t have wished for a better start to our 2012 campaign. On a day when everything could have gone wrong for us – and the weather certainly did – we managed to give everyone in the team something to smile about after a pretty challenging few months back at base. P2 was a very changeable session, and so is the order, but we were all pleased to see us posting a time that was in the midfield and it will provide a great boost to the team. Considering where he started the day, with very little experience of the car and some hair-raising track conditions, Charles conducted himself perfectly. It has been a tough test of his mettle and there is obviously plenty more in the tank, which we look forward to nurturing. We are obviously mindful of the fact that the conditions have been as they have today and we have only managed one set-up change, so we are desperately hoping for a dry FP3 tomorrow to give us the best possible run at qualifying and the race.”
P ZERO SLICKS AND CINTURATO WETS SEE ACTION IN MELBOURNE
Pirelli’s 2012 season got underway with the new Cinturato Green intermediate tyre – named after the range with which Pirelli started its original Formula One campaign in the 1950s – as Toro Rosso’s new recruit Jules Vergne took to a damp track in Albert Park for the first free practice session of the year.
Teams are allocated a total of 11 sets of slick tyres for the race weekend, and under this year’s rules they now have every set available to them from the start of free practice. However, rain dominated proceedings during both of Friday’s sessions in Australia and the rules also state that if both Friday sessions are wet, one set of dry tyres can be carried over to the following day. Furthermore, if either of the two free practice sessions is wet, the teams are entitled to an extra set of intermediate tyres, above their usual allocation of four sets of intermediates and three sets of wets per race weekend.
In the first free practice session, which started in damp conditions but progressively dried out, McLaren driver Jenson Button went quickest thanks to a time of 1m27.560s on the P Zero White medium compound. This turned out to be the fastest time of the day, during which the medium and soft slicks, as well as both wet weather tyres, were used at various points.
Rain continued in the afternoon and with drier conditions predicted for the rest of the weekend, there was comparatively little running at the start of the second session while it stayed wet. All teams started on the full wet tyres, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso becoming the first driver to head out on intermediates with an hour to go. After the track finally dried out again with less than half an hour remaining, Michael Schumacher clinched the fastest time of the session for Mercedes on the P Zero White medium tyre in the final seconds: 1m29.183s.
Most of the installation and set-up laps were done on intermediate and wet tyres in view of the conditions, with very few long runs carried out on the soft tyres in particular. Overall, the changing conditions made it hard to draw many firm conclusions.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “With a very wide variety of mixed conditions today, we got to run all four types of tyre that we have brought here, and the teams were able to carry out some important work to establish crossover points. The weather is expected to remain dry for the rest of the weekend, so it’s understandable that most drivers chose to concentrate on dry running. But because there was so little dry track time, we will not see a completely accurate picture of relative performance emerge until tomorrow. We noted that the medium tyre was particularly well suited to the conditions today, and that the performance gap between the two compounds has significantly decreased but we’ve got plenty of data to analyse tonight before we can come up with any detailed times.”
Pirelli fact of the day:
The biggest force that the tyres are subjected to in Albert Park is 4.87G under braking for turn two, when the cars shed 200kph in just 108 metres. There is low micro and macro abrasion on the circuit, which basically means that the stones making up the asphalt track surface are small, smooth and offer little grip.