FP1 & FP2 - Abu Dhabi GP 2020 - Team quotes
“Today was ok and there is still a bit of work to do to close the gap to Mercedes who seem strong again but I didn’t get a lap time on the soft compound as I came up behind Perez on a long run so it’s hard to tell exactly what the gap is. We will see what the other drivers say about track limits in the briefing tonight but it’s Friday Practice which is always about exploring the limits and getting a better understanding of how wide you can go with the car. In qualifying we know we can’t go so wide and will pay more attention, but I don’t think it’s a big issue. The soft tyre seemed to hold on ok so I think that will be ok for qualifying and we will see whether I can sit in a different Press Conference chair tomorrow.”
“Today was a pretty standard practice day where you’re just working through the usual items and working the tyres to find out where that sweet spot is, but I was pretty happy and overall it was a good day. I think we need to look at the softs and how to work them better to get them into the right window, and also to stay in that window, but the mediums felt ok. It’s practice after all so I’m not really sure where Mercedes are based on today’s running but we’ll focus on ourselves, look at everything in more detail tonight ahead of qualifying tomorrow and see where we are.”
Renault DP World F1 Team ended Friday practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with both cars inside the top ten on the timesheets after a promising day at the Yas Marina Circuit.
Esteban Ocon was third in Free Practice 1 and sixth in Free Practice 2 with Daniel Ricciardo ninth in the evening after an early end in the first session due to a suspected fuel pump problem.
That issue was quickly fixed ahead of Free Practice 2, meaning Daniel could run his planned programme in the evening.
Both drivers ran the opening part of the second session with the mandatory 2021 Pirelli tyre test, which featured eight timed laps, before switching focus to fine-tuning car set-up on both short and long runs. A red flag late in the session put a halt to the team’s high fuel running on all three compounds.
“If you’re going to miss a session in Abu Dhabi it’s probably better that it’s the first one as it isn’t representative for qualifying tomorrow and the race on Sunday because of the later start times for those sessions. I think the evening session today was pretty good for us and we hit the ground running straight away. We did plenty of laps and the car felt good for most of the session. With a couple of tweaks, I think we’ll be in a good place tomorrow. Qualifying is going to be really important here and, of course, it’s my last one with the team, so I’m looking forward to putting on a good show.”
“It was a pretty good Friday in terms of our short runs. We still have some work to do overall because our long runs aren’t where we want them to be, especially as that has been among our strengths this year. That does, however, give us something to work out over the weekend and I’m sure we’ll get there. Otherwise it’s promising on the timesheets and it’s going to be very tight once again. Whether it’s a long track or a short track, it’s very close! I think qualifying will be interesting tomorrow and we need to extract the best from the car. I’m ready for it.”
Ciaron Pilbeam, Chief Race Engineer
“We’ve had a fairly decent day. Esteban had a fairly smooth run all day, however Daniel missed most of the morning. He had a problem that was easily fixable, but the car was stranded out on the circuit, so we missed nearly all of FP1. The later session ran better for him. In terms of short run pace, it’s very close, as expected, with probably eight cars within two tenths on the low fuel runs on the softs. We are right in amongst it and we can expect a close fight tomorrow night in qualifying. The long runs were broken up for everyone by a red flag so it’s a bit hard to see the race pace so far, but we will do our usual Friday night homework ready for tomorrow.”
It may have come to a fiery end, as a technical issue sidelined Kimi Räikkönen with 18 minutes of FP2 left, but the final Friday of on-track action in 2020 was otherwise a regular, busy session on the tarmac of Yas Marina.
Kimi and Robert Kubica took part in a crucial FP1 session in which conditions did not replicate what qualifying and the race have in store, but which allowed us to continue assessing development parts. With Antonio Giovinazzi returning to the car for FP2, the focus switched more decisively to preparations for this weekend, with set-up work and low- and high-fuel runs.
The final part of FP2 was interrupted as Kimi’s car stopped by the side of the track with a technical issue, but plenty of information had already been collected by then, allowing our engineers to get into the business of crunching data ahead of qualifying.
161 days after the first practice session of the season, in Austria, our Friday programme for 2020 comes to an end: our weekend, however, doesn’t. Now is when thing really starts to count…
“The car felt good, at least keeping into account the different conditions in FP1 and the part of FP2 we could complete. As always, there is a margin for improvement and that’s what we are going to work on tonight. We couldn’t do too many laps on high fuel given the issue we had: of course that’s not ideal, but at least it happened to an engine and gearbox we were going to change in any case. It’s obviously a lot of work for the guys in the garage but we should be ok for tomorrow.”
“It’s been a relatively straightforward Friday, although our long runs were cut short by the red flag. I jumped back in the car after sitting out of FP1 and I got up to speed quickly in the first part of the session. We have some things to improve, as always on a Friday, but if we make the step forward we expect we should be in a better position. Let’s see what qualifying has in store and how we are going to do tomorrow.”
“It has been an interesting day for us and a pretty positive one, at least until Kimi’s technical issue later in the evening. We had quite a few things to test in FP1, mostly for evaluation and for the long-term development of the car. It was a very challenging day for the guys in the garage, with quite a few things to change in a short time, but they did great. The conditions, with a green track and a lot more warmth than we’ll have in qualifying and the race, were not the easiest but I am pleased about our work. It’s always a good experience to drive an F1 car, especially after getting the feeling for it back in Bahrain.”
“We managed to learn something about the car today and did a good number of laps, but I didn’t feel like we’ve got everything right, so we’ll do our homework tonight and understand what we can do to improve for tomorrow. The conditions between FP1 and FP2 were quite different and, as usual, the second practice session is much more representative for Quali and the race, so hopefully we can find these extra tenths tonight to get it completely right for tomorrow.”
“Looking at the gaps today, I think it’s going to be really tight this weekend, with six or seven positions separated by one and a half tenths. The battle in the midfield is quite intense so it’s going to be very exciting for Quali and the race. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the car, we did our Option runs in the final laps of the session and we showed our pace, which makes me feel confident for tomorrow as I think we are going to be right in the mix. There are still a few things we’ll need to sort out, so we’ll work tonight to find those extra tenths to make sure we are ahead of the midfield rather than behind.”
Jonathan Eddolls (Chief Race Engineer)
“It wasn’t quite as smooth of a Friday as we’ve become accustomed to as a team. Unfortunately for Daniil, he didn’t get to complete his FP140 run due to a small issue, so we had to abort his run. That put him on the back foot to start the weekend, because it’s a difficult track to get into a rhythm with so many corners and high track evolution, so the setback wasn’t ideal. In FP1, we gave both cars two sets of Prime tyres so they could do some setup work to try and find the best compromise around this track. We found some good directions to take, so we made some bigger changes from FP1 to FP2. At the start of FP2, like all teams, we ran the 2021 tyre which was the Prime specification and gathered some information for Pirelli for next year. We then moved onto our short runs, although, due to our tyre allocation, both cars fitted the Base which is obviously a big step away compared to the Option from a grip perspective. When we switched to the C5 Option runs, it’s fair to say we didn’t extract the maximum potential from those, so there’s something for us to understand in terms of out-lap tyre preparation to get the tyres in the correct window for the first lap. We haven’t shown the performance we normally do on a Friday, but we have a good group of engineers and we’ll analyse the data thoroughly tonight and come up with a plan to improve the performance tomorrow. The midfield is extremely tight, around six cars are within a tenth of a second, so we’re not looking for much, but every last little detail can make a big difference.”
The 17th and final round of the 2020 FIA Formula 1 World Championship began with practice on Friday at Yas Marina Circuit as teams prepared for Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
2021 Haas F1 Team driver Mick Schumacher made his grand prix debut participating in FP1 – Kevin Magnussen stepping aside from the session to allow the newly crowned F2 Champion his opportunity behind the wheel of the VF-20.
After an install lap on the Pirelli P Zero White hard tire, Schumacher turned another seven laps on the compound for a baseline run around the 5.554-kilometer (3.451-mile), 21-turn circuit. Switching to a set of Red soft tires, Schumacher set his fastest lap of 1:41.235 – 18th quickest in the session. The German finished his outing with a high-fuel stint on the same set. Fittipaldi worked with the team on a planned 2021 development program to start his track activities. He utilized two sets of tires, the Yellow mediums and Red softs, but was never on low-fuel in the session – the Brazilian classifying 19th on the timesheet.
Kevin Magnussen returned for FP2 as the session blended from dusk to night under the floodlights at Yas Marina. Together with Fittipaldi he ran a set of Pirelli C4 prototype tires to start the evening session. Magnussen followed that up with a stint on the mediums before going for a qualifying simulation on the softs. The Dane clocked a 1:38.504 lap – good for 16th overall. Fittipaldi’s second outing came on the hard rubber before he too ran the softs, setting a 1:39.027 lap to place 19th fastest. Both drivers ended the day attempting long-runs – the session compromised however by a red flag stop for the stricken Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen.
Haas F1 Team ran a total of 107 laps on Friday across FP1 and FP2 – 49 by Fittipaldi, 35 by Magnussen and 23 by Schumacher.
“I would say things went pretty smoothly today in FP1. I was getting used to the car – it’s such a big step from Formula 2 up into Formula 1, but I’m happy everything went well. I felt comfortable with every switch and then every switch change in the car. I started off on the hardest compound and got to do a few consecutive laps which was really good, every lap really counts as you’re building up the pace and learning where you can push into each corner. It was really just a matter of time and getting the laps in. We then went onto the softer tire, which was a huge jump - the difference in compound is something you really feel strongly. It was cool, really nice. I’m really looking forward to getting back into the car on Tuesday at the test.”
“In FP1 we were trying things for 2021, so it was interesting to see how the car handled. For FP2 we went back to our standard car for this weekend focusing on more performance running, as FP1 we had prioritized long runs. So that’s when I got my first feel for the car this weekend. It was a bit of a crazy session. I had a yellow flag on my push lap on the softs on low fuel. I had to back off and push again. Then when we were going to start our long run, I saw the car of Kimi (Raikkonen) going on fire, so that meant we couldn’t get all the laps we had wanted in. It was still a good session and I was able to understand a lot of things. We have to focus now and hopefully we can make a step forward tomorrow. Overall, I’ve arrived a lot more confident into this race weekend, whether I’m in traffic or running around other cars, even with my procedures – my driving in general I’m a lot more confident with. All that definitely helps.”
“I’d say it was a decent FP2. I actually thought the car felt better than it has in recent weekends, so that was nice to see. Hopefully we can build on that and find a bit more performance on the soft tires. I think we were very strong on the mediums. We’ll see if there’s anything special we can do for the race on Sunday. First, we have to see how our pace is, we need to see if we’re in line with the pace of Alfa Romeo and quicker than Williams. I think it’s been a good day though, now we have to try and build on that.”
“It was quite an abnormal Friday for us with three different drivers – one doing his first FP1 and the other taking part in just his second grand prix. Let’s start with Mick (Schumacher), he did a good job this morning for his first time in our car. I think it’s fantastic to have Mick Schumacher participating in his first grand prix weekend in our car – that’s great for everyone at Haas F1. He did a solid job, he did what he was supposed to do, and he kept his nose clean. I think he learned a lot over the 90-minutes. We’re looking forward to Tuesday’s test with him. Pietro (Fittipaldi) started his second weekend with us. He worked on some testing in FP1 for 2021, so his lap times were not of any importance to us, we were working to get data. He had a lock-up in FP2, lost a few laps, but otherwise it was a solid performance. Finally, Kevin (Magnussen) – it was just as normal. He came back and did his job; it was pretty good considering he missed out in FP1. He surprised us and put in an extra lap at the end after the checkered to make sure he got as many laps in as he could under his belt.”
“I’m happy with the balance of the car and the progress we’ve made today – it’s just a shame we’ll be starting near the back [due to a change of Power Unit components] because I think we have the package for another good result. But it is what it is, and so our focus today has been on the long runs. We’ve been working hard to understand how the race is likely to play out and how the Pirelli tyre compounds will behave. Obviously, FP2 is a really important session for this because it’s much more representative than FP1. Despite the interruption in FP2, I think we’re in a strong place and we have a good idea of what to expect. There’s a lot on the line this weekend with the battle for P3 in the Constructors’ Championship, but we can go into qualifying with the pressure off and focus on the race. The goal is to fight our way into good points and see how high we can finish on Sunday.”
“It’s great to enter a new weekend off the back of a strong result last time out, it gives everyone a bit of a lift heading into another race. The car feels good out on track and we were able to make improvements across both sessions. We completed our programme as planned and we managed to do both short and long runs, so I think we’re in a good place heading into Saturday. We’re in a really close fight for P3 in the Constructors’ Championship and the goal is to score some good points and make sure we’re still in P3 at the end of the race. It’s up to us to extract everything from the package and execute a good race. I’m excited about the challenge ahead.”
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance
An interesting day during which we got a final chance to look at next year’s Pirelli tyres. It was good to welcome George back and he was able to spend some time in FP1 refamiliarising himself with the FW43. We spent the warmer afternoon session conducting some background work before we moved on to the weekend preparation work in FP2. As usual our main focus was on tyres as we worked on preparing the C5 compound for a qualifying lap and then managing the degradation on the harder compounds at high fuel. Finding a car balance to achieve both will not be easy, but we will work on it tonight.
George’s FP2 session finished early with a suspected MGU-K issue, which we are currently investigating.
It was nice to be back, to see all of the team as this is where I have been for the last 18 months. We are all working hard to try and end the season strong. Throughout the sessions we struggled on pace, and Kimi (Räikkönen) and Kevin (Magnussen) looked really fast out there. We still have a lot of work to do for tomorrow to improve the car to fight for Q2, especially after having FP2 cut short. Our focus is to set the car up for Sunday so that we can go out there and give it our all.
It was quite a busy last FP1 of the year with a lot of important data for us to gather. Our programme today was focused on next year, rather than optimising performance for this weekend. However, we were expecting a bit of a challenge coming into this weekend from the nature of this track. We know the kind of corners that it has, and the layout is not ideal for our cars’ characteristics. We can make it better as we have an idea on the things that we need to improve, it’s just about getting them into place and seeing what we can achieve tomorrow.
“A positive final Friday of the year. We made some good improvements, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do overnight. I think we can be happy with what we did, but we saw how close it was, so if we don’t maximise everything tomorrow we can easily be a long way off where we want to be. So, heads down tonight to try to get that little bit more out of the car and we’ll go again tomorrow.”
“It’s been a bit of a better start than last weekend. The car immediately felt more in the window. Unfortunately, every time we put the Soft tyre on today we didn’t have the cleanest of laps due to traffic, or we simply didn’t nail the set-up, so still a lot of homework to do regarding that tyre and how can we extract a bit more from it. The Soft compound is obviously going to be the qualifying tyre and looking at the standings today, with seven drivers in just two tenths, it’s crucial to find some lap-time on that compound. Time to analyse and get ready for tomorrow.”
Andrea Stella - Racing Director
“Overall, it’s been a positive Friday in Abu Dhabi. This afternoon, we worked on aerodynamic items, with an eye on next year. This evening we had another opportunity to evaluate the 2021 tyres, as well as quite a bit of work to do understanding the tyres for this weekend. We have the C5 here – which is always an interesting compound to understand. Compared to FP1, we made some progress in FP2 and, overall, the car seems to have potential, even if it’s not easy to extract it all, but there are still plenty of opportunities for improvement. We’ll analyse the data overnight and make sure we’re ready for our final qualifying and race of the season.”
Valtteri sets the fastest time on Friday in Abu Dhabi
— Valtteri finished the morning session in P2 with Lewis in P5
— In FP2, Valtteri set the fastest lap of the day, followed closely by Lewis in P2
— The team focused on building an understanding of the 2021 prototype tyres as well as single lap and long run work on the 2020 tyres
It was a decent Friday. The car felt good from the get-go, but there’s still a lot of work for us to do. The main focus will be to get the balance right throughout the entire lap, as I was struggling with the front end in some corners and with the rear end in the others. I also couldn’t really get the Soft tyres into the window; I didn’t have any grip on my first lap, so I think they were too cold, but in the following lap they were already overheating, so there’s clearly some work to do. The Medium actually felt like a better tyre for me, but that’s because we weren’t able to extract everything from the Soft today. It’s been a decent first day on track, but I’ll take it lap by lap and my targets are clear for the weekend ahead. I’m happy Lewis is back with us again this weekend, it’s nice to see him back with the team and in the car.
I’m grateful to be back with the team and back in the car. I missed doing what I love last week, so I was very happy to arrive at the circuit this morning. It’s taken a good session and a half to get back into the flow even though it’s been such a short amount of time that I wasn’t in the car. The car didn’t quite feel the same as I had left it, so I’m now working my way back to feeling more comfortable balance-wise. We had an issue with the pedals and the brakes in FP1 which cost us around 40 minutes of track time, but the team did a great job to change everything so quickly; they have been flat out for three weeks now and still keep pushing. Otherwise the sessions all went ok, the last one felt a bit better, although we didn’t get to do the long run at the end. We’ll get our heads down and work hard tonight, to be in the best shape possible for qualifying and the race.
We’ve had quite a tricky day overall. Lewis had an issue with his brake pedal assembly this morning that meant we lost the first bit of FP1 and he couldn’t run the Soft tyre. We also had a problem with Valtteri’s throttle pedal that we changed as a precaution during the second session. Both those issues cost us a few laps and the red flag towards the end meant we didn’t get to do a long run on the Medium tyre. In terms of pace we looked ok on a single lap. We didn’t get the best out of the Soft; it’s a difficult tyre to optimise and we’ll have a few more stabs at that tomorrow ahead of qualifying. We didn’t get a great picture of where we are on long runs as we only had a short stint on the Hard in the first session and the prototype tyre in the second session. However, I think everyone is in a similar boat, so I don’t think we’re necessarily at a disadvantage, but we’ll be going into the race without the normal amount of information on the tyres and the balance.
The final Friday of the season was a busy one for Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel, who completed 107 laps between them of the Yas Marina Circuit, home to the 17th round of the 2020 World Championship.
FP1. As was the case with the two previous races in Bahrain, the first 90 minutes of track time is less relevant to the rest of the weekend. Charles and Sebastian spent the time working on several fronts, their first tasks involving tests relating to next year, before switching to the normal set-up work. In the second part of the session, the Monegasque ran the Hard tyre while Seb used the Medium compound. Leclerc did 25 laps, the best in 1.39.344, while Vettel did 19, the quickest being a 1.39.670.
FP2. The second session got underway at 5pm local time, the same time at which qualifying begins tomorrow and there were even more laps than before with Charles doing 31 and Sebastian 32. Right at the start, both SF1000s ran the Pirelli prototype tyres to be used in 2021, each driver using them for 10 laps. Then the work load was split between the two, with Charles running Mediums and Seb the Hards. In the middle of the session, both men did qualifying simulation runs on the Soft tyres: Leclerc posted a best time of 1.37.508, making him eighth quickest, while Vettel stopped the clocks in 1.38.198, for 15th place. After that, both men did long runs, using the Medium and Hard compounds.
Youngsters. Watching proceedings carefully from the garage today was Robert Shwartzman, the Ferrari Driver Academy talent who will be at the wheel of the SF1000 for the Young Driver Test on Tuesday. Callum Ilott was doing the same from the Alfa Romeo Racing garage, while the newly-crowned Formula 2 champion Mick Schumacher made his debut in the first free practice session with the Haas F1 Team for whom he is racing next year.
Programme. Tomorrow the final practice is at 14 (11 CET). The grid deciding session will start at 17 (14 CET), with the race getting underway on Sunday 13 December at 17.10 Abu Dhabi time (14.10 CET).
“On a track like this, we expected to struggle a bit more, but in fact we seem to be in the mix with the guys we usually fight with. This is probably not going to be as good a weekend as the last one in terms of performance, but it’s definitely better than we had expected.
The balance of the car evolves over the course of the lap, as you have little grip in the first corner and then you gain more and more throughout the lap. Let’s work tonight and hopefully we can make a step up for tomorrow. I will also work on my driving as I am lacking a bit of speed here and there, but in the end it’s tomorrow that counts.”
“We did quite a lot of work today but we have more to do, as we have still not managed to get the tyres into the right operating window, especially when it comes to the Softs.
For qualifying I think we will more or less find ourselves in the same position as last weekend. If we are able to put together a very good lap, maybe we can get to Q3, which would be positive for my last race with the team. I appreciated Charles’ nice touch in running today with a helmet dedicated to me. I hope we can give the fans something to cheer about this weekend.”