2010 Singapore GP, practice: Team quotes 

Written by David on September 24th, 2010 at 8:00 pmLast Update: September 24th, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Laurent Mekies: “This morning on Buemi’s car, we carried out another development test on the F Duct, as we had done in Monza, even though again, we had no intention of using it on this circuit which requires maximum downforce. We also had to contend with a damp track, but we have to get used to it as we can expect this Equatorial weather throughout the weekend, being ready to deal with sudden showers. Therefore it was good for the drivers to complete some laps in these conditions. Jaime had a very good day: we saw him sideways a few times on TV, including one contact with the wall, but he put in a strong performance on both short and long runs. With both cars, we concentrated on race trim, doing extremely long runs to assess tyre performance. Tyre consistency has very much improved compared to the last two years, because tyre degradation used to be a problem here and today their behaviour was much better. Apart from that, we tackled the usual Singapore challenges of the bumpy track, trying to establish the best ride configuration for the cars.”

Martin Whitmarsh: “This afternoon’s shower showed, for the first time, that this circuit is likely to be very challenging in the wet – the track doesn’t dry out very rapidly and, as we saw this evening, certain parts of the track don’t drain very efficiently. That meant some corners were still damp long after the rest of the track had dried. Coupled with the fact that visibility under the strip lighting makes it hard for the drivers to see where the circuit is drying, a race in wet conditions could be extremely challenging. While today’s lap-times suggest that our competitors may have an advantage, there’s still plenty of data to be combed through tonight. In particular, our long-run pace looks encouraging, so our aim for tomorrow is to ensure that our car’s speed over a single lap is optimised for what’s likely to be a rather tricky qualifying session. Initial analysis suggests that our upgrades have worked successfully, but we still need to look over the data in more detail in order to gain a greater understanding of our overall competitiveness ahead of tomorrow.”

Alan Permane: “It was pretty wet during the first session so while Vitaly spent some time learning the circuit and achieving as much as he could in the conditions, with Robert we focused on checking f-duct settings and making sure the car was working okay. We chose to run Vitaly without the f-duct in the FP1, just to make his life as simple as possible for his first practice session at this circuit. Robert lost most of the second session with a hydraulic leak, and wasn’t able to run a new set of soft tyres to set a time – he only went out for a couple of laps at the end just to check the car. As for Vitaly, he’s still learning the circuit and finding his optimum braking points, so we know there’s a lot more time to come from him. It doesn’t look fantastic on the timesheets today, but I’m confident we’ll be in our normal place tomorrow. The drivers haven’t been complaining about the bumps at all today. We know that our car rides them reasonably well, but they don’t appear to be the issue that they have been for the last two years. Our limited data from today indicates that the softer compound will be the quicker qualifying tyre, so we will simply try to run our normal programme, have a trouble-free session with both cars, and prepare thoroughly for qualifying.”

Tony Fernandes: “On track, it’s been a reasonably satisfying day for all three drivers and the whole team. We think we have a lot left in the cars, and while Heikki was happier today than Jarno, we’re confident that in qualifying Jarno’s professionalism and experience will see him get what he wants out of the car, as he always does. Off track, today really was an exceptional day. There have been so many special days in our story so far, but for me it feels like the Team Lotus announcement we made this morning is all about the future. A year ago Mike and I were walking around Singapore talking about where we wanted to take a new racing team. Today we have established the future of our brand and we are thrilled about that. This is not about the legacy and the historic rights of Team Lotus – that is very well handled by Clive Chapman. His father Colin’s legacy is something we respect, and we are very proud to be part of it, but we played no part in creating that. Today’s announcement about Team Lotus was about solidifying our future, and moving forward under new leadership to try to bring more glory to a great name. We have a long way to go, and over the next few weeks more announcements will be made that will provide a clear view of our strategy for next year and beyond, but now it’s about our team rising up the grid and becoming a serious competitor. We have shown that we are a serious team, and that we are here to stay, and everything now is about our future being in our own hands.”

Mike Gascoyne: “Overall it was a reasonable Friday, although we couldn’t find the perfect balance on either car. Jarno in particular was not happy with his setup, so we will work on that tonight and see what happens tomorrow. It was good to see Fairuz back in the car, and with the tricky conditions this morning it was difficult for him but he did a good job, so overall we’re satisfied, but I think there’s more to come tomorrow.”

Sam Michael: “Even with the circuit being damp for the majority of the first practice session, we still had a productive day working on set-up and tyres. For both cars we had a new front wing assembly, and only on Rubens car for this race we had a new diffuser to evaluate -all of which are working as expected. Our pace looks reasonable, and qualifying will be about traffic management!”

Dominic Harlow: “During FP1 the circuit took quite a long time to dry, meaning our programme included a run on intermediate tyres followed by a second on dry tyres. The track was in quite good condition otherwise and in FP2 it was good for dry tyres for our usual comparisons. Tonio worked on set-up, suffering from a bit of understeer, and unfortunately Adrian clipped a kerb at T10 on his second outing and couldn’t continue. With some improvements to the car overnight we believe we can be competitive tomorrow and to get both cars into Q3 remains a realistic target.”

Ross Brawn: “As expected, we faced some weather-related challenges today but the first session proved very useful for Michael as he was quickly able to learn the circuit with good running in the damp conditions. The second session proved more useful from an engineering perspective as we could work through our normal Friday programme. We are reasonably happy with our progress so far but there is still a lot of work to be done before tomorrow.”

Norbert Haug: “A beautiful venue here in Singapore with a great atmosphere and first-class television images for the spectators worldwide. Although it is only our third visit here, this is already a great Grand Prix and one of the most remarkable races on the calendar. On the track, we ran our usual Friday programme and we still have some work to complete tomorrow. Our target on Sunday is to continue scoring points with both cars as we achieved in the last couple of races. Whilst we are not expecting miracles in the last five races, everybody will give their utmost to get the best possible results.”

James Key: “Our work was cut out today compared to normal Fridays, because for Kamui it was about first learning the track and for Nick driving for the first time with the new car and current tyres. We started off today in wet conditions and it seemed to go well. Kamui put in some good lap times, while Nick started to familiarise himself with the car. Due to the damp track, the tyre temperatures were quite low in the first session. Between the sessions we had a good look at the data and the second session was okay. We continued to work as planned, except we had to replace the same new hydraulic component on both cars. We are midfield at the moment and are working to improve from there.”

Colin Kolles: “The first session started off under wet track conditions and so, our drivers could get some experiences on a new circuit for them. As rain is expected for almost the whole weekend, it was important for Bruno and Christian to run under changing conditions. The track dried up and in practice two, it was dry. Today, it was important for us to get as much track time as possible and data about the circuit and the car. Now, our focus is on tomorrow and we will try to do our best again.”

Stefano Domenicali: “Despite today’s difficulties, we still managed to acquire sufficient data which our engineers can now use to decide on the car set-up for qualifying and the race. Friday’s times are always difficult to evaluate and today was no exception. From the little we could see, Red Bull look very strong, as indeed was to be expected, but we are on the pace. Having said that, clearly we will have to perform faultlessly if we want to achieve our objective, starting from tomorrow’s qualifying.”

Chris Dyer: “Rather a difficult day in terms of running the programme we had set out for the two free practice sessions. In the first one, the track conditions were neither fish nor fowl: the damp track meant you could not use the dry tyres without the risk of damaging them, but it was not wet enough to run properly on the intermediates. In the second session, we were unable to complete the planned programme on Fernando’s car, because an experimental component in the gearbox broke, which was discovered when he went off the track at turn 18: now we have to take a close look at the part to determine what caused the breakage. We tried various new aerodynamic solutions, also comparing the handling of the car with and without the blown rear wing: now it is up to the engineers, along with the drivers, to reach a decision tonight as to which is the best configuration for qualifying and the race. In terms of performance, the F10 seems to be reasonably competitive at this track, even if it is difficult to draw any definite conclusion, especially when you consider how the two sessions went. I think the battle between the top three teams is very tight and that we can fight for places at the front of the grid.”

John Booth: “We are extremely pleased with how the day has gone. We’ve shown some good pace today on both wet and dry tyres and all three drivers did a very professional job in difficult conditions. We do have a few issues to resolve before tomorrow’s running, but generally a good start to the weekend. This morning Jerome did a fantastic job for his first time out in the car, particularly as there was a lot of media attention on him. To achieve the time he set and be the quickest of the three ‘Friday drivers’ was fantastic for him. Timo was pretty happy with his car on the prime tyres and his time was impressive, but he had an imbalance on the car which prevented him from improving on his time on the option tyre. Lucas got up to speed quickly in free practice 2, but was also unable to get the best out of his option tyre run.”

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