2008 Singapore Grand Prix, (night) practice: Team quotes 

Written by David on September 26th, 2008 at 7:27 pmLast Update: September 26th, 2008 at 7:27 pm

2008 Singapore Grand Prix, Marina BaySteve Clark: “We have endeavoured to make the schedule as normal as possible by staying more or less on European time. It’s just a little strange when you look at your watch! The heat and humidity is tough but as always this improves as you become accustomed to the conditions. The true test came in between the sessions today following Rubens’ small accident in the closing stages of FP1. We normally have the ‘luxury’ of a 2½ hour interval to make any repairs or set-up changes. Here in Singapore, the schedule affords just a one hour break and it was a race against time in fierce humidity for the mechanics to make the necessary changes to the car. Rubens missed only 15 minutes of the second session, so congratulations to the team on a great turnaround. We have done some a lot of good work in race trim today because brake wear and temperatures can be an issue at this type of track. We would like to have a clearer view of tyres and set-up for qualifying and the race at this stage, but in reality we will have to be very careful with the evolving track conditions as things change significantly between now and Sunday. We will need to stay sharp and respond quickly as the track develops.”

Stefano Domenicali: “Definitely a different Friday to usual: the timetable and the on track action taking place under artificial lighting gave it a really special atmosphere. Overall, this has been a positive day. We acquired a lot of data which we must analyse to be as well prepared as possible for qualifying and the race. From what we saw today, and taking into account the usual unknowns on a Friday, we should be competitive compared to our closest rivals.”

Mike Gascoyne: “Congratulations to the circuit and the city for putting on such a fantastic venue. It was a very interesting first day. Obviously the circuit was new and dirty but rubbered in during the day. The drivers had no real problems in the first session, but unfortunately Giancarlo’s car developed a gearbox problem in the second practice and he had to stop early. Adrian was able to complete his full programme of tyre and set-up evaluation and overall we have lots of data for tomorrow.”

Denis Chevrier: “Our first day has gone smoothly, which proves that we were well prepared coming here. We made the most of the track time available to evaluate some different settings and, as for any new circuit, we have concentrated on cooling, fuel consumption and the gear ratios. The results from the two sessions are therefore encouraging and we hope to continue in the same way tomorrow.”

Willy Rampf: “This was a good start to what will become the most exceptional race weekend of the year. The atmosphere is fantastic, the style of the place is unique. Both drivers needed a few laps to familiarise themselves with the new circuit, and then, as usual, we were concentrating on race preparation. We have been doing some set up changes and will be analysing all the data tonight.”

Ron Dennis: “From a procedural point of view, today was a very encouraging day – which, as usual on a Friday, we spent evaluating race tyres. But I want to make a broader point: along with everyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the Singaporean government, and to Bernie Ecclestone, and to everyone else who has made this event possible. It’s a fantastic circuit, and the added attraction of racing under floodlights has been very well achieved. It feels a little strange to be at the circuit so late, well past midnight in fact, but overall I would describe the advent of night-time grand prix racing as an excellent new development in the ongoing history of Formula 1.”

Sam Michael: “Today’s two practice sessions were a good first chance to run in night time conditions. We worked through all of our planned programme. The only real issue we encountered was damage to the bargeboards on both cars due to the kerbs, but beyond that we had no issues with all of the aspects to a new track and running under artificial light. In conclusion, it looks like a great circuit and it will be a new and interesting challenge for the rest of the weekend.”

Dieter Gass: “We should say congratulations to the organisers who have prepared a fantastic facility here. I think it is going to be a very exciting race; it is the first time Formula 1 will race in the night and all the ingredients are there for an interesting weekend. In general the track is a bit bumpier than we expected so that is something we have to adapt to and that situation is the same for everybody. In terms of running at night, we had no real issues, although the drivers were commenting that there were some areas which were a bit darker than expected, but in general it was fine. Today the track was evolving throughout, as you would expect with a new street circuit like this. Obviously it was very dirty in the beginning but then it rubbered in. We still have some work to do on the set-ups before qualifying, but we got through a lot of work today so we have plenty of data to study.”

Norbert Haug: “Atmospherically probably the best pictures ever seen in Formula 1. Here the World Championship does in my view a step forward and interested viewers from all over the world will recognise it in the international television broadcasts. On the track our first day was okay with good laptimes during our planned Friday programme. Compliments to the organisers, the FOM and Bernie for making this remarkable event happen.”

Luca Baldisserri: “Running under these lighting conditions and to this time schedule has been a very interesting experience. From a strictly technical point of view, it was a normal Friday, dedicated to finding the best set-up and comparing the two types of tyre available. In general, the F2008 seems pretty well balanced on this track. In the second session, on Kimi’s car, we tried some settings we had tested last week at Mugello, which apparently do not seem to offer much in the way of performance. However, we must analyse the data carefully, before reaching any definite conclusions. At some points on the track, the kerbs make driving very demanding, which can be seen from the fact that there were quite a few spins and off track excursions. Also, the entry and exit to the pit lane have to be approached with caution both by those using them and the cars out on track.”

Pat Symonds: “It is always exciting to come to a new track and the spectacle in Singapore is even better than I imagined. It is a really exciting new era for Formula 1 and I’d like to congratulate all of those who make it possible. The circuit itself is almost as we expected, although much bumpier than what we have experienced before. It reminds me of the North American circuits in the 1980’s. Having said that, our cars and drivers seemed to be pretty competitive this evening. Let’s see what tomorrow brings us.”

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