2010 Korean GP, practice: Team quotes 

Written by David on October 22nd, 2010 at 12:28 pmLast Update: October 22nd, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Martin Whitmarsh: “Today was an encouraging first day for the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team. First impressions suggest our new upgrades are working, and that we seem to have the performance to match the other world championship front-runners. We’ll be deploying our new rear wing for the remainder of the weekend. Following some extremely in-depth preparatory work undertaken back at the McLaren Technology Centre, both Jenson and Lewis were able to very rapidly get to grips with the new track configuration – something that enabled us to focus even more keenly on set-up development. The front-running teams appear to be very evenly matched, which bodes well for an extremely exciting qualifying session tomorrow.”

John Booth: “A promising first day here at the new Korean International Circuit. All three drivers got up to speed quickly and both cars ran very reliably, enabling us to complete plenty of laps. The track grip improved dramatically through the day, which makes assessing setup changes more difficult, but it’s the same situation for everyone. The track is a challenging one which the drivers seem to enjoy driving, so we are very pleased to be racing here in Korea and we are looking forward to the weekend ahead.”

Patrick Head: “It was very interesting to see the track develop and the way both tyres are behaving. I think everyone is experiencing graining on the option tyre, so that may cause some different race strategies. For us, we had a normal Friday, although we’d be happier if our lap times were a bit quicker, but we think we know where that is going to come from.”

Stefano Domenicali: “First of all, I wish to congratulate the organisers for all the work completed in order that this Grand Prix could take place. This country is investing a lot in its development and that is an important indication for the future. As for the track, obviously today’s conditions were unique, with a very dirty surface and a grip level that changed with every passing lap. Therefore today’s results have to be evaluated very carefully: what is certain is that qualifying will be very difficult and the race will be hard to predict, especially as it seems likely that it could rain.”

Chris Dyer: “It was quite a positive day, with both drivers completing their planned programme without any particular technical problems. It is very difficult to evaluate the results, because the condition of the completely new asphalt changed continuously as it got more rubbered in and cleaned itself up. It is complicated to find the right balance on the car, because the track is very different from one sector to the next, but in the end, both Felipe and Fernando were reasonably pleased. There is definitely much to do, especially to improve stability in the final sector, where today the cars were sliding around quite considerably. As for the tyres, the hards are a bit difficult to manage because the grip level is very low, while the softs work well on the first lap: over a long run the situation is more complicated, but that is the challenge we have had to face at every Grand Prix this year. The track is very interesting and demanding for the drivers: we have seen a lot of them finding the limit today. I expect to see a spectacular race, especially as there are a few places where overtaking seems possible.”

Laurent Mekies: “A very nice track layout with an interesting mix of high speed corners and a straight long enough hopefully to have some overtaking on Sunday. Overall, it is quite challenging in terms of defining the best set-up. Other than that, it was business as usual for us today, trying to find the best set-up as well as comparing both tyre compounds. Obviously, the track changed massively from morning to afternoon; probably the biggest change we have seen this season, which is to be expected on a brand new surface. Towards the end of the three hours, things were pretty much back to where they normally are in terms of tyre behaviour.”

Colin Kolles: “The circuit was very green at the beginning but it improved during the day and the lap times continuously got quicker. Everyone had to get used to the circuit and learn about it. There are some nice parts and it’s a mix of fast and slow corners. In the morning session, Sakon completed many laps and it was very important to get track time. Unfortunately, we had a technical failure on Bruno Senna’s car and he had to stop before the end of the session. This is also the reason why he started late in the second practice. After this difficult day for us, we are focusing on qualifying and the race, where we hope to be a bit luckier and get more experience on this new circuit.”

James Key: “Not surprisingly it was a busy day learning this new track. As we expected it was very, very slippery in the beginning with the new tarmac having just been laid down. It was quite difficult for the drivers and the engineers to know exactly what issues we had to look at, because the lap times improved very significantly all through the session. But we did our best to go through some set-up changes to get a feel for what the car is responding to. We made some mechanical changes on both cars and did some aerodynamic tests on Kamui’s. In the afternoon the track had more grip and was more consistent, so we were able to do a standard programme. We looked at some downforce levels and further set-up changes from the morning, and we evaluated the prime and the option tyres to see how they are performing. There is still a lot to understand, so we are going to be very busy tonight analysing all the data. Overall we are happy with the day, the drivers seem to be fairly comfortable, and I think the track is really good. It looks like a drivers’ circuit. Hopefully we can maintain our momentum tomorrow.”

Dominic Harlow: “A very good first day of practice at the Korea circuit. It is an impressive track, with an exciting layout that offers different challenges through the three sectors. It’s really proven to be as our simulations predicted and we’ve gathered plenty of data which we can now use to further validate and refine those initial results. There was some graining on the prime tyre and we found the option offered better grip. Tonio had a problem at the rear of the car during his final outing and stopped the car as a precaution, but otherwise it was a fairly normal and productive day. We tested some new parts that have behaved as we intended and, together with a few changes we plan to make overnight, we are looking forward to the rest of this first Korean Grand Prix weekend.”

Mike Gascoyne: “An interesting Friday and obviously it’s always a good challenge when you come to a new track. As expected it was very slippery early on, and the large track evolution has made evaluating the tyres and setup changes very difficult, but we’re pleased with where we have ended up. On Jarno’s side of the garage we had a couple of gearboxes issues which limited his running today, so he did very well to get as close to Heikki’s laptime as he did in the closing stages of FP2. Heikki had a trouble free day and it’s again pleasing to see that we finished ahead of our nearest rivals at the end of FP2. Overall today has been much as we had expected it would be, and I want to say well done to the circuit organisers for making sure that everything was ready in time for us to go to work today. I think we have a good weekend ahead of us.”

Riad Asmat: “I think we’re all pretty pleased with how today went. It’s obviously great to be in a new country, and the whole Lotus Racing team has been given a warm welcome here, so we will do our best to put on a good show for the fans on track, and make sure we leave Korea having shown what Lotus Racing is all about. One of the most important aspects of today was the fact that none of the problems people were worried about before the race came to light. The track itself was slippery, as we all knew it would be, but that will come good, and the facilities here are great. There were more fans at the track today than we see at quite a few other races around the world, so I think this was a very good first day for the Korean Grand Prix.”

Ross Brawn: “We are all very pleased to see the cars running for the first time here in Korea today and credit to the venue for ensuring that everything was ready on time for the practice sessions. We’ve had a reasonable first day with the car looking particularly strong in the first sector where we showed good straightline speed. The grip levels came in quickly and positively over the day which helped. Everyone is finding that the tyres are struggling with graining on higher fuel levels, particularly on the option, but if the track continues to improve, that may ease. Overall we can be pleased with our start to the weekend.”

Norbert Haug: “A very interesting new track with a layout which is quite unique compared to other circuits. Sincere compliments to the organisers and the thousands of people who worked so hard day and night over the last couple of months to make this race happen. This is a very special new venue for Formula One and whilst every detail is not yet in place, everything will be even better for next year’s event. Our first sessions went quite well today and with our current technical package, we managed to be where we have been positioned in the last couple of races. I am sure the first Korean Grand Prix will be a thrilling race.”

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