FP1 & FP2 - Eifel GP 2020 - Team quotes

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By Olivier Ferret

9 October 2020 - 16:33
FP1 & FP2 - Eifel GP 2020 - (...)

Haas F1

The 11th round of the 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship began with practice on Friday at the Nürburgring in Germany as teams prepared for Sunday’s Eifel Grand Prix.

Two 90-minute sessions – FP1 and FP2 – on the 5.148-kilometer (3.198-mile), 15-turn circuit, were scheduled with Ferrari Academy Driver Callum Ilott joining Haas F1 Team’s regular drivers, Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.

FP1 was ultimately cancelled with rain and fog keeping the medical helicopter grounded – conditions failing to improve as the countdown clock ticked down with pit-lane exit remaining firmly closed. Ilott, currently second in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, had been set to make his FP1 debut with Haas F1 Team, with Grosjean vacating his seat to allow the 21-year-old British racer the opportunity. However, both Ilott and Magnussen’s VF-20’s remained firmly parked in the garage before the session was eventually abandoned.

FP2 brought more of the same with the inclement weather continuing into the afternoon, the air temperature hovering around 13 degrees Celsius (55.4 degrees Fahrenheit). Drivers and cars remained in their garages with the pit-lane closed as once again conditions prevented the use of the medical helicopter. The session was officially cancelled one hour into the planned schedule.

Saturday’s forecast promises a relief from the rain but with a cooler air temperature of just 9 degrees Celsius (48.2 degrees Fahrenheit) ahead of qualifying.

Callum Ilott

“Obviously it wasn’t the most ideal session from everyone’s point of view. Nevertheless, it’s been a great experience to come here and prepare as a driver would in Formula 1. From that side I’ve learned a lot, it certainly hasn’t been a wasted opportunity. I would have loved to have been able to go out and do some laps of course, but unfortunately the weather set against that. Hopefully I can get another opportunity before the end of the year, but if this is the only one then it’s been an experience. I have to take away from it all the positives I can - even with what’s happened, I’ll be better prepared for another opportunity.”

Romain Grosjean

“We have a sport that is weather dependent and today the weather wasn’t kind to us. It’s a shame for the young driver that was set for his first FP1, it’s a shame for the fans that came today, and for us too as we love driving these cars. Obviously, conditions didn’t allow us to go out so I guess there’s a lot of work to be done tomorrow.”

Kevin Magnussen

“It was frustrating not to get any running today. Of course, it’s not a disadvantage because nobody got to run, but still I was looking forward to getting on track. I feel for the fans that were here in the grandstands today. They’ve been sitting out all day today in the rain and they’ve had nothing for it. Hopefully we can put on a great show for the rest of the weekend.”

Günther Stainer

“Obviously it was a less than ideal day. I’m disappointed for Callum (Ilott) that he didn’t get his planned FP1 outing. It’s just one of these things unfortunately, but he’ll remain with us throughout the weekend – so hopefully that will be a good experience for him. What else can I say really – the weather, as expected, has cost us our Friday practice. It will make our Saturday a little more interesting. It might not rain tomorrow but it’s certainly not going to be warm. We’ll keep our heads down as usual and let’s see what we can extract from final practice and apply in qualifying.”

Williams F1

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance

Unfortunately, the weather has beaten us today with the track remaining closed throughout both practice sessions. Whilst this has stopped us from doing the testing that we had hoped to complete, it doesn’t change too much as all teams are in the same position. The forecast is better for tomorrow and we now face a hectic FP3 session to get ready for both qualifying and the race. This will be good practice ahead of the two-day event at Imola in a few weeks’ time. We look forward to running the cars tomorrow and understanding how they behave in the cold conditions that we will undoubtedly face during the remainder of the weekend

George Russell

It is a shame not to do any laps today, but it gives us a really exciting opportunity tomorrow to head into qualifying with only one hour of FP3 under our belts. It will probably be slippery conditions in FP3, possibly dry for qualifying and then wet for Sunday. It will be a very mixed weekend; I will be getting a good night’s sleep tonight to try and nail it tomorrow. I really feel for the fans and the supporters who have tuned in from all over the world to watch practice, so let’s hope we put on a good race for them on Sunday.

Nicholas Latifi

It was unfortunate we were not able to do any driving; I was looking forward to driving in these mixed conditions and get some more experience in the wet. Due to safety reasons we were not able to go out on track, which is a shame. I feel sorry for all the fans who were out in the cold and wet waiting for us to get some on track action, but that’s how it goes sometimes. Hopefully the conditions will be better tomorrow and we can make up for it.

Renault F1

Foggy, moist conditions at the Nürburgring effectively cancelled today’s free practice sessions ahead of the Eifel Grand Prix. With clearer conditions forecast for tomorrow, Renault DP World F1 Team will condense its plans into just one practice before the afternoon’s qualifying.

Daniel Ricciardo

“I think Germany wanted to steal Imola’s limelight and become the first ever two-day race weekend. It’s a shame we didn’t get to drive today, but I’m not hugely impacted by it. I’ve stayed warm for a day, so that’s good. Tomorrow does look the driest of the three days so hopefully we should get some running in ahead of qualifying. The fans who came today might not have seen a lot, but if it’s drier tomorrow there could be a lot of excitement.”

Esteban Ocon

“It’s been a long day with the conditions and unfortunately we could not do any running. I feel sorry for the fans who are here. I was watching them on TV and it’s very cold outside. I hope they stay and come along tomorrow when the weather should improve and, hopefully, we can show them what the cars are capable of here. I think tomorrow will be a bit more demanding with limited track time and tyres but that’s the same for everyone. It’ll be about who adapts the quickest. Even though we didn’t run today there are key decisions on strategy and things we still have to think about for the race weekend.”

Ciaron Pilbeam, Chief Race Engineer

“We’d rather have been out there running today, but sometimes the conditions just don’t allow for it. We now need to adapt our plans accordingly and obviously this places a lot more emphasis on the third practice session than normal. We get to carry over an extra set of dry tyres so we will have three sets instead of the normal two and can put in more mileage. This is however assuming the track is dry, which is not at all certain. The forecast is better and clearer, but it will be cold and that means that the track will be slow to dry. We have to hope conditions improve sufficiently so the track will be open and we can do at least some running as we try to learn as much as we can.”

AlphaTauri

Pierre Gasly

No quotes

Daniil Kvyat

No quotes

Jonathan Eddolls (Chief Race Engineer)

“It has been a long, cold and wet day here at the Nürburgring and we didn’t even get to turn a wheel! A track we haven’t been to since 2013, we had a very busy Friday planned with many test items to understand what the optimum setup would be and also how to get the tyres to work in the expected very cold conditions. The temperatures this weekend are colder than we experienced throughout the whole of winter testing, so there is doubt over all of the learnings we have built up over the season on how to extract the most from them. We have our beliefs on how the tyres will behave, based on science and engineering, but we needed to put those into practice to confirm. Given the conditions, this has not been possible, so we will head into tomorrow with many unknowns, which should make for an interesting event. The weather for the rest of the weekend is looking better than today, but we have seen how slowly the track dries - it’s been wet since Monday - so potentially the first time we get to run dry tyres could be only in Quali or even the race. As said, given the unknowns of the new track, temperatures outside of the norm and the rain, it will be a challenging rest of the weekend but it’s one which opens up opportunities and we will aim to maximise these tomorrow and in the race!”

Mercedes

Both practice sessions were delayed several times, before being cancelled due to persistent rain showers and inadequate visibility at the Nürburgring

Lewis Hamilton

We couldn’t get out there today because it wasn’t safe for the helicopter. It’s disappointing to miss out on days like this, although we probably wouldn’t have got much running in anyway because we’re limited on tyres and it looks like it’s going to stay like this for the weekend. But I’d have loved to have just done an installation lap. Everyone is in the same boat though. I just tried to keep myself occupied today, I’ve got Roscoe with me, so I was hanging out with him and tinkering with some music. This kind of situation, with less practice, definitely makes the weekend more challenging and exciting, especially if it stays wet for Qualifying and the race. So, I look forward to that.

Valtteri Bottas

We just wanted to get out there today, but it wasn’t meant to be. We’ve had these kind of days in the past, so it can happen and you just can’t change the weather. Hopefully the next few days are better because I could see the fans out there today waiting around in the cold, so fingers crossed we’ll have some action for them to watch. Looking ahead to tomorrow, we need to be really efficient in practice three because the plan has completely changed. We need to really make the most out of it, to get the information we need on both the short and long runs. It’s a good challenge for both us as a team, and also us drivers because we need to be really quick and efficient on picking up details. It will make the weekend very exciting.

Andrew Shovlin

Not running today is going to make tomorrow busy, but it’s similar to the challenge we are going to face in a few weeks when we have the two-day schedule at Imola. There’s a lot that we need to learn about the car and tyres here in a short period and the drivers are having to get to grips with a track that they have not run on for many years. There are quite a few items of setup and car specification that we normally tune throughout the Friday, so it’s quite a challenge to get things in the right window and we need to do that to have a productive session. It also doesn’t give us long to work out how to get the most out of the car and tyres in the cold conditions. However, it’s the same challenge for all teams and will certainly make Qualifying and the race even more interesting.

Racing Point

Lance Stroll

“It’s great to see fans back at the track again, but I’m disappointed they didn’t get to see any action. The teams haven’t raced here for a long time so there’s no data to fall back upon, and there’s extra pressure with just one practice session before qualifying. We also need to see what the weather does tomorrow. FP3 could start in damp conditions and qualifying could be dry so it’s going to be a day of reacting quickly and learning what we can to be ready for Sunday.”

Sergio Perez

“I feel sorry for the fans here and back at home who missed out today. There’s always a risk to racing this late in the year at the Nürburgring, so I hope the rest of the weekend goes smoothly and we can put on some entertainment for the fans. Today being a washout could make for an interesting weekend because teams won’t have the usual data from FP1 and FP2. We need to be ready to learn quickly and there could be more surprises as a result.”

Otmar Szafnauer, CEO & Team Principal

“It’s a shame that today was a non-event and we feel for the fans who missed seeing the cars out on track. By not running today, we’ve ended up with a preview of what the two-day format is going to be like in Imola! That loss of track time puts pressure on all the teams to maximise every lap tomorrow. Set-up time will be very limited ahead of qualifying, but it’s the same situation for everybody.”

Alfa Romeo

Much ado about nothing, the Bard would have written – had he been watching Friday practice for the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix. All the expectations, the words printed, the cameras pointed at our garage: so much had been said and written about today, with the return to an historical Formula One venue and new faces in the cockpits – so much destined to be in vain.

At the end of the day, this Friday will be remembered for its weather: it wasn’t a Tempest, but the foggy conditions, together with the nearly incessant rain that battered the Eifel region from the morning, caused both practice sessions to be cancelled, much to the chagrin of the fans that braved the conditions to sit on the grandstands.

Mick Schumacher, who was poised to make his debut in an official race weekend session, couldn’t make it out of the garage as the pitlane lights remained red. Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi – who last drove on this track in 2013 and 2015, respectively – will need to wait one more day to reacquaint themselves with the circuit. The engineers will have no data to crunch, albeit their evening will be a busy one as they rearrange the FP3 programme to make up for lost time. Everyone up and down the paddock remains in this fine balance between expectation and disappointment.

As the rain finally stopped in the early evening and the mist dissolved, the dusk sun finally started shining on the wet surface of the Nürburgring. The Bard, watching from the grandstands and reeling in the disappointment for the missed sessions, would have surely remarked on this marvelous sight “all that glitters is not gold…”

Kimi Räikkönen

“We can’t really say much about today because we haven’t got any running at all, but nobody can change the weather anyway. Having driven here before will not make much of a difference, there are lots of drivers who have driven here in the past so it won’t be very difficult for everyone to get up to speed when we finally go out. Let’s see what we can do with just one hour of practice and what weather we get tomorrow.”

Antonio Giovinazzi

“We were expecting not to find any sun here in October, but to miss out on both sessions was still a surprise. I was always meant to sit out of FP1, so in the end I missed only one session, but the team as a whole has no data to analyse which is a shame, especially on a track where we didn’t ran in recent years. Hopefully tomorrow we can have a better day – and some better weather! Qualifying and the race could be a bit of a surprise with the lack of data, so let’s see what happens.”

Mick Schumacher

“I would have loved to go out and drive, but it’s still great to be here. I am grateful to Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN and the Ferrari Driver Academy for the opportunity to be with the team. It is very useful to be alongside the engineers, be part of the briefings and work with the crew: this experience is teaching me a lot about the processes and the philosophy of an F1 operation. It would have been great to get some data for the team and I am also sorry for the fans who didn’t get to see any action, but in the end that is how it went. We can only hope there is a bit more running for the rest of the weekend.”

McLaren

Carlos Sainz

“Not a lot to say about today. Unfortunately, we couldn’t go out due to safety conditions with the helicopter. It’s a shame not to drive in the wet because I always enjoy it, and not to get a feel with the new parts that we’re bringing this weekend. We’ll need to hit the ground running tomorrow and make sure we get everything on point to have a strong qualifying and race. It looks to be a different and challenging weekend compared to normal with the cold temperatures, wind and on a different track, so we’ll do our best to put everything together.”

Lando Norris

“I think the main thing for us is that we had a few different parts on the car for this weekend. So, for all these parts we need the time to understand how they’re helping the car, what impact they have and whether we need to change the rest of the balance of the car for them. It will make our lives a bit more difficult tomorrow in FP3 to try to understand but also carry that information into qualifying.

“Learning about tyres, the track and aerodynamics was our main plan for today, but it would’ve been tricky anyway in conditions like this in the rain: so much harder to get a good read of the car. I would’ve enjoyed driving today because these conditions are normally good fun. The weather’s still looking challenging for Sunday – and tomorrow possibly as well."

Andrea Stella - Racing Director

“We all want to go racing and it is always disappointing whenever a day is lost to bad weather – perhaps more so at a circuit that we’ve not visited in seven years. There are always decisions we need to take on Friday evening, and today we’ll have to make those based upon a combination of data from our simulations and what we can extrapolate from races at circuits with similar characteristics.

“Looking at the weather forecast, there is a chance FP3 will be dry. We’ll have a great deal of work to do testing and analysing tyre and aero performance. The drivers will be busy familiarising themselves with this very technical layout, that neither have visited before with a Formula 1 car. We have to work hard to get into a good position for qualifying and give ourselves the best chance of scoring good points on Sunday. We feel very sorry for the spectators who turned up today and hope that we can give them something to enjoy over the rest of the weekend.”

Ferrari

There was no track action on this Friday at the very first Formula 1 Eifel Grand Prix. Since yesterday, the Nürburgring has been shrouded in fog and clouds with rain falling constantly in the Eifel mountains. Visibility was too poor for the medical helicopter to fly, so that the pit lane exit remained closed for both of today’s free practice sessions.

Disappointment. A shame, mainly for the thousands of fans who had braved the elements and did not get to see a single moment of track action. In pit lane, two people were equally disappointed with the lack of the first session. FDA (Ferrari Driver Academy) students Mick Schumacher and Callum Ilott were due to make their race weekend debut with Alfa Romeo Racing and Haas respectively. They will get another go, probably at the final race of the year in Abu Dhabi.

Chatting. The race director was keen to get at least a few laps in and, to this end, the situation was updated every half hour. “It wasn’t the best of days,” admitted Sebastian. “It was a bit tiresome, waiting for each next announcement without ever getting the ok to get in the car. I am sorry mainly for the fans and the two FDA guys who didn’t get to do a single lap. In the afternoon, in what should have been the second sessions, I had several chats, with my father who is here with me this weekend, with our Sporting Director and also with Mick, who said he was really upset at not being able to get in the car. I hope he’ll get another chance as soon as possible. Tomorrow, conditions should be similar but let’s hope we can at least go out for free practice at noon. It’s been seven years since we raced here and we would need to try the track before qualifying. It goes without saying the work schedule for tomorrow is looking pretty busy.”

Doodling. Charles had also been keen to drive today, as this will be his first time at the Nürburgring in a Formula 1 car. “Unfortunately, from the moment I arrived in the paddock, it seemed pretty clear that we would not be going out of the garage,” explained the Monegasque. “I had hoped we could have managed a few laps in the afternoon, especially as we had a few things to try on the car, but the situation didn’t change. It’s not great, but it’s the same for everyone and it could make things even more interesting.” “To pass the time in the afternoon, I doodled some drawings that you might be interested to see on my social channels,” continued Charles, who added he was sad for the fans. “I saw them on the television screens, huddled in the grandstands, suffering in the cold and wet for nothing. It would have been nice to do at least a few laps for them.”

Programme. The timetable for the first Eifel Grand Prix remains unchanged despite the cancellation of today’s two free practice sessions. Before the battle for grid positions gets underway tomorrow at 15 CET, the drivers will have an hour starting at 12 to fine tune their cars. The race gets underway on Sunday 11 October at 14.10.

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