2010 Malaysian GP, practice: Team quotes 

Written by David on April 02nd, 2010 at 4:11 pmLast Update: April 02nd, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Sam Michael: “We spent today’s practice sessions working on starts and evaluating a revised diffuser and front brake duct. The tyres appear to be quite stable again, something we’ve come to expect from Bridgestone. Tonight we’ll be focussing on extracting more speed out of the FW32 for qualifying. We had a mechanical problem on Nico’s car in the afternoon session, but the mechanics were able to fix it quickly.”

Colin Kolles: “Both sessions were productive and ran as smooth as possible for both Karun and Bruno who could cover all the planned testing programme while driving most laps ever in their practice history. Technically everything worked well and this is very positive for the team to be running through a normal driving programme with a crew that worked very hard to make all of this happen. Now, we need to go beyond and improve driveability of the car.”

Mike Gascoyne: “All round a very successful day. It was good to have Fairuz in the car this morning and he was able to complete his entire program. Heikki took over the car in the afternoon and was also able to finish his planned program – evaluating the tyres and the race pace of the car. We had no mechanical issues on either car and in general I’m very pleased with the progress we’re making, so well done to the whole team.”

Tony Fernandes: “Great day – we did everything we wanted to do and I’m extremely pleased. We’re getting better and better so let’s hope we continue this tomorrow in qualifying. We are being realistic though – points aren’t in my mind. I just want to finish the race, get both cars home and keep our feet on the ground. Of course I’m still dreaming – I put Colin Chapman’s cap on the pit wall to remind everyone of what we’re aspiring to, but we’ll get there in the right way, and the dream continues.”

Willy Rampf: “We used both sessions to test different configurations of our new rear wing. We will analyse the data here at the track and in the factory in Hinwil to decide on the next steps. In preparation for the race we did long runs with the option tyres to get an understanding of their behaviour when we have a heavy car and a very high track temperature. Overall it was a productive day without any technical problems. We were able to complete our planned programme.”

Nick Wirth: “In the context of our winter testing and the first two races, today was a clear step forward for the Virgin Racing team. Both Timo and Lucas managed to work through good programmes and we seem to have a clear direction to follow tomorrow on set-up. The high-speed corners of Sepang highlighted a small set-up issue on the power steering on Timo’s car, which we’ll correct tonight. Overall a solid start to the weekend.”

Dominic Harlow: “We didn’t encounter any major problems today as we established the relative performance and degradation characteristics of the two tyres available for this race. The high track and air temperatures are, as usual here, dominating the behaviour of the car. Today’s sessions have been at the normal times of day, but as we head into the weekend they become later again, and that will be a factor in the decisions we make overnight. We’ve more work to do, but are looking forward to the challenges of the weekend ahead.”

Alan Permane: “The track was lacking a little bit of grip at the start of P1, but it improved through the session. It was much hotter in P2, but the circuit had more grip. We’ve done a good comparison of the prime and option tyres with Robert on both long and short runs so we have a good understanding of their performance for the race. Both drivers were quite happy with the cars straight away and we’ve worked on the set-up throughout the day. We’ve got a few issues with braking stability, which we still need to work on, and Vitaly has a bit too much understeer, but the overall balance is not too bad. Unfortunately Vitaly had a fuel leak this morning, which cost him some running time, but the mechanics did a good job to get the car ready for the start of P2. At the end of P2 Vitaly had a water leak. We’re sorry these problems cost him time out on track. As with the previous races we’d like to get Robert well into Q3 tomorrow. Although Vitaly has lost some track time, he’s had good pace today so hopefully we can get him into Q2 and close to Q3.”

Martin Whitmarsh: “The timesheets in both sessions suggest that we are headed in the right direction, but our focus this evening is to maximise the car’s performance, particularly over a long run, where we know tyre performance will be crucial. Lewis made excellent progress throughout both sessions and we’ve all been encouraged by his view that the MP4-25 is the best McLaren he’s ever driven around this circuit. Jenson struggled to find a satisfactory balance, particularly at the start of this afternoon’s session, but he and his engineers worked well together to improve this deficit by the end of the afternoon. I’m positive that he’ll make further progress overnight ahead of tomorrow’s practice session. While we’re mindful that the unpredictable Malaysian weather may play a role in determining the outcome of tomorrow’s grid, we’re nonetheless pleased with the foundations we’ve laid today.”

Ross Brawn: “It has been a busy Friday for the team here in Malaysia for the start of our first ‘home’ race. The two dry sessions have enabled us to complete the majority of the planned programme for Nico and Michael, although the track conditions did change this afternoon following the rain shower. The priority today was to evaluate the prime and option tyres. While all of the teams were running different tyre programmes, which makes it difficult to predict our relative pace, we are reasonably satisfied with what we achieved and are looking forward to the challenge of the weekend.”

Norbert Haug: “This is going to be a very challenging race with extreme stress on the drivers, cars and tyres, and particularly all of the team members who have to work in real sauna conditions. The heat and humidity is almost guaranteed and rises in the afternoon. It’s difficult to estimate where we are today but generally we are not where we need to be just yet.”

Chris Dyer: “A few little technical problems prevented us from getting through every last item on our agenda, but nevertheless we have gathered sufficient data to prepare as well as possible for qualifying and the race. We need to find a bit more performance for qualifying: that is what we will work on this afternoon and tomorrow morning in the third free practice. The two types of Bridgestone tyre are pretty similar in terms of their level of degradation: the softer one seems quicker over the first lap, while over a distance, the situation is less clear. Obviously, the weather is the unknown factor that hangs over the rest of the weekend, with the possibility of rain playing a major role.”

Stefano Domenicali: “This year, it’s impossible to work out exactly where we are compared to the others, after the first three hours of free practice. And today, was no exception to that rule. For our part, we followed a very precise programme, aimed at acquiring data for Sunday’s race. Once again, it looks like being a weekend when everyone is very evenly matched, with at least four teams looking capable of fighting for the top places. The major unknown factor is the weather: since we have been in Sepang, not a single day has gone by without a storm putting in an appearance at the time when qualifying and the race are due to take place and if that was to be the case tomorrow and Sunday, any predictions could go out the window.”

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