Team reaction after day one in Istanbul (part 1)

McLaren, Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes GP, Renault & Force India

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By Franck D.

28 May 2010 - 15:35
Team reaction after day one in (...)

McLaren Mercedes

Jenson Button: “This morning was reasonably good, and this afternoon was better. I was struggling a little through Turn Eight, it’s an area we’ll be working on overnight because it’s pretty tricky through there at the moment. It’s a tough corner, especially if the car’s moving around – so we’ve got to hope we can solve some of those issues before tomorrow.

“The car feels reasonably good around here – there are still some areas where we’re not so strong, and the Red Bulls will once again be the cars to beat in qualifying tomorrow, we can’t get away from that. I just hope we’re closer than we’ve been in the last two races.

“I think the Ferrari will be quick here too. It should be the top four teams that we normally see, and possibly Renault as well, so I don’t think qualifying tomorrow will be boring. There should be some good battles.”

Lewis Hamilton: “This is such a great circuit, and the grip didn’t seem too bad today. It also seems very tight between all the frontrunners – the times are very close. Our car doesn’t seem to be performing too badly, so I’m happy with today’s running.

“Turn Eight is quite bumpy as always, and you could see today that some of the others were having a few difficulties through there, but it wasn’t a problem for us.

“I have no doubts that tomorrow in qualifying the Red Bulls will pull out something extra, which they always seem able to do. We haven’t made too many changes to the car for this race, but we’ve got a chance this weekend, and I think we’ll be able to compete with them.”

Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal: “We’ve made a number of small improvements to the car for this race, and we spent the day evaluating and back-to-backing those components on Jenson and Lewis’s cars. The job for the engineers now is to evaluate that data ahead of tomorrow’s sessions.

“We’re reasonably confident with the pace we showed today. While it’s not indicative of overall performance, we feel that our package should be quite efficient here, and, as always, we’re confident that we’ll be able to refine the car overnight ahead of qualifying tomorrow.

“This is a demanding circuit – for both drivers and engineers, and we’ve still got plenty of work to do to optimise our cars for qualifying and the race.”

Red Bull Renault

Mark Webber: “The engine went at the end of P2, but it was a high mileage engine, so we were expecting it to be on the edge. There’s no hand brake on a F1 car so when I stopped I was trying to tell them to put something behind the wheel to stop the car rolling back. A frustrating thing to explain from within the car! We need to analyse the new F-duct system tonight, we know it’s not the most straightforward of systems. The guys have done a phenomenal job to get it to this point and we’re happy with
how it went today but, whether we race it or not, we don’t know yet.”

Sebastian Vettel: “It was a reasonable day – and quite tough as we introduced the F-duct. We still need to do some fine tuning, but it looks good. I think McLaren looks very competitive here, their system seems to be working well and they seem quite a bit quicker than everyone else on the straights. You can make up time in the corners, but there are quite a few straights joining them. We’ll see if we keep our system on. It feels more natural now with the new chassis, it was good to change it and overall I was happy with the balance of the car.“

Ferrari

The first two sessions of free practice signalled the start of a special weekend for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, as here in Turkey, it celebrates its 800th Grand Prix in 61 years of taking part in the Formula 1 World Championship.

Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso completed a total of 98 laps: 48 for the Brazilian and two more for the Spaniard.

Stefano Domenicali: “As is always the case on the first day of a race weekend, it is difficult to draw any conclusions as to the hierarchy among the teams. We worked on race preparation and on finding performance and we are reasonably happy with what we have seen. One has to be very careful when assessing the level of competitiveness, given we are up against very strong opposition: all the same, it did not strike me we were seeing anything very different to the previous six races of this championship.”

Fernando Alonso: “Compared to the Spanish Grand Prix, I think the situation is a bit better, down to the fact the track characteristics are different and do not require the maximum aerodynamic downforce, but rather an intermediate level which is better suited to our car. However, it would be a surprise if the Red Bulls were not ahead of everyone. We are thereabouts, behind them along with McLaren: that is my prediction. We tried some solutions for finding the best way to manage the blown rear wing system and have made some progress, even if it is not yet perfect: we will work on it for the upcoming races.”

Felipe Massa: “I was not able to do a time on the soft tyres because I ended up spinning on my first timed lap at turn 8. This was the most inconvenient factor today, as that set of tyres was no longer useable and I had to do almost the entire second session on just one set of the harder compound tyres. The track improved from the morning, bit by bit as the cars did more laps, which is something to bear in mind for the rest of the weekend. We have to improve the car still further to be competitive: McLaren and Red Bull seem very strong here. Having said that, I think we can manage to find the right way to progress to take the fight to them.”

Chris Dyer: “A reasonably positive day overall. We had a very busy work programme and we got through it without any particular problems, with the sole exception relative to Felipe’s performance on the softer tyre, because of his spin at Turn 8 on his first timed lap. The F10 seems to be okay, even if there are some details that we still need to fine tune and we believe we can do well in tomorrow’s qualifying and in Sunday’s race.

Mercedes GP

The first of the practice sessions for the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix got underway today at the Istanbul Park circuit.

The Mercedes GP drivers, Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher, spent the two ninety-minute sessions focusing on the evaluation of the team´s new developments for their MGP W01 cars and working on the balance, set-up and tyres around the challenging 5.338km circuit.

Nico completed 47 laps finishing the day in sixth position with Michael completing 46 laps in seventh place.

Nico Rosberg: “We made some good progress today and have been working hard with our updates for the car. It wasn’t a perfect day as we lost some time in the process of evaluating the new developments, particularly in the second session, so I was playing catch-up this afternoon. However we achieved a lot of interesting work and arrived at a decent balance by the end of the day so I am reasonably happy. We have a few question marks remaining and it will be a busy final practice session tomorrow. The early indications are that we have made a decent step forward and although we don’t know how much yet, it is a good job from the guys at the factory and at the track to get everything here and working.”

Michael Schumacher: “It’s really difficult to judge what the current picture is after today’s practice sessions, especially as we don’t know who was running on what fuel loads. We certainly have some improvements on the car which you can notice but it is very difficult to quantify the full effects coming from Monaco to here and thus not having a clear reference and comparison. Clearly the improvements are in the right direction but as always it is a matter of how quick we develop compared to our competitors. Turn eight is still a nice challenge here. It has small surprises in terms of bumps and it is fun to drive obviously. It is exciting and technical at the same time. Let’s wait and see what is going to happen tomorrow.”

Ross Brawn: “Today’s two practice sessions were particularly busy for the team as we had our first opportunity to evaluate our new developments on the track. Without track testing it is always a challenge to bring new parts directly onto the car but we were able to achieve some good work today. Both drivers are reasonably happy but as always, we will not be able to make a valid judgement on our progress until the end of the weekend.”

Norbert Haug: “Quite a busy start into the weekend for us. The team evaluated different aero options and in the end our long run pace in race conditions looked quite promising.”

Renault

Robert Kubica: This morning the track conditions were not ideal but we did a couple of runs to evaluate the balance of the car and to decide which direction we should take with the set-up. We also did a comparison with the new front wing, which seemed to give us an improvement compared with the previous wing. In the afternoon we mainly concentrated on improving the balance of the car and I did a long run with the option tyre to check the degradation rates. Everything is working pretty well, but we just need to improve the balance a bit more before qualifying.

Vitaly Petrov: I’m pleased to be back here in Istanbul Park because it’s a circuit that I enjoy and I won the GP2 race here last year. The track conditions today were not great to begin with and the track was quite dirty, but it was the same for everybody and hopefully it will improve during the weekend. Overall it was a fairly normal day because we started with a basic set-up and just tried to improve the balance in the morning and the afternoon. The car felt quite good by the end of the day, but we can still improve it, so I will work my engineers tonight to be ready for final practice tomorrow morning.

Technical Debrief with Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer:

Track conditions: The track here is not used very often so it was quite dusty to begin with, but it had a steady evolution throughout the day.

New updates: We’ve brought a new front wing here and we ran it this morning with Robert. His feedback was positive, as was the data, so we will continue running it for the rest of the weekend. Vitaly will have the new wing from tomorrow onwards.

Summary of the day: It’s been a fairly normal Friday for us with no dramas to report. We’ve run both high and low fuel with both tyres compounds and have done some good homework ahead of the race.

General car balance: Robert had a very good balance with the prime tyre, and not such a good balance on the option tyre, which is something we will look into this evening. Vitaly was suffering with a little bit of understeer which we’re confident of curing over night.

Force India Mercedes

Free practice for the Turkish Grand Prix was a searing start to the weekend, with ambient temperatures peaking at more than 30 degrees Celsius. The Force India F1 Team made good progress over the day as it used the two 90 minute sessions to evaluate the new developments introduced this weekend, including the switchable rear wing (SRW) - a a device where a driver is able to manually alter airflow over the rear wing.

Despite the low grip conditions out on track, Tonio and Adrian covered more than 200km in the morning session to gather as much data as possible on the new upgrade. The practice ran reasonably smoothly until the closing minutes of the session when Adrian ran slightly offline onto the dirty, slippery part of the track through turn eight - a high-speed multi apex turn - and into the barriers. His VJM03 was repaired in time to complete 16 laps during the second session, recording the 11th quickest time. Tonio posted 28 laps with a best time of 1:30.627, the 16th best of the afternoon.

Adrian Sutil: We got as much data as we could on the new developments we have this weekend. The morning was pretty useful to get the first information about our switchable rear wing, and we also got a lot of running in on the hard tyre. Unfortunately I had an accident towards the end of this session - I got some understeer through turn eight and went wide on the marbles and that was it really, I was into the barriers. I was OK but the front right suspension was pretty damaged. The team did a fantastic job to get me out in the second session and we made a few runs to at least get some data on the option tyres. At this stage it’s good to get the information, we’ll look at it tonight and see how we can make some improvements for tomorrow.

Tonio Liuzzi: It was quite a productive day today. In the afternoon the balance of the car was not ideal, but in the morning it was good and we could get some useful data on the new SRW. I think it’s working pretty well, it’s a clever solution to it and not too difficult to use considering what you have to do. We made some progress to understand it over the two sessions so now we just need to work on the balance as we are still not in the right ball park just yet. Overall a positive day and I can definitely feel an improvement over the last weekend with the car.

Dominic Harlow, chief race engineer: Interesting sessions today as we worked on understanding the switchable rear wing on its track debut. We have collected a great deal of data and now have to determine the best approach for the remainder of the weekend. The circuit is a little green and grip quite low overall and unfortunately we lost some track time after Adrian went off track at T8 this morning. The team worked hard and did a good job to get the car back out for FP2. Otherwise the developments we have brought to this event seem positive and we expect a close qualifying session tomorrow.

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