2011 Australian GP, practice: Team quotes 

Written by David on March 25th, 2011 at 11:55 amLast Update: March 25th, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Norbert Haug: “We learned a lot about our car and the new Pirelli tyres on this track today which is obviously quite different to the ones we have been testing on. However not everything went perfectly this afternoon as we had some technical issues which influenced the lap times for both Michael and Nico. Our initial impressions are that we have basically a similar potential to that shown during the last test in Barcelona a fortnight ago.”

Ross Brawn: “It is good to finally get the racing action underway here in Melbourne and to start the process of seeing where we stand after the winter. Today went reasonably well for us, and we were able to complete much of the planned programme for the two sessions, although some small problems on both cars this afternoon did have an effect. This was the first opportunity to try the new tyres, KERS and rear wing system in a race weekend situation which was extremely useful for the drivers and the team. There is a lot to evaluate and complete tomorrow before qualifying but I’m happy with our start to the weekend.”

Sam Michael: “That was a productive first day’s practice. We successfully worked through our programme, which included running all day with revised KERS components, testing aero modifications and a new front wing on Rubens’ car. Everything worked as expected. Interestingly, tyre degradation is currently looking better here than it was when we were testing.”

James Key: “First of all it is good having got the season underway. Today’s surprisingly cold and wet conditions in both sessions didn’t stop us carrying out the programme we had planned. Even with the colder track temperatures, the tyres have been a little bit easier to manage compared to pre-season testing, which is good. We had a normal programme for both drivers with set-up work and tyre testing. On softer tyres neither of our drivers had a clear lap due to traffic. Kamui was not happy with the car’s balance in the second practice. Sergio was a little bit happier. He also had traffic but stuck it out and managed to put a lap together. Now we will work to improve the car’s balance for tomorrow.”

Thierry Salvi: “Engine wise it was quite a good day because we managed to carry out a number of tests we had not completed in the pre-season running. We have had some positive feedback from the drivers from those tests, for example with the blown-floor strategy, so this has been a pretty encouraging day for us.”

Mike Gascoyne: “A difficult first day in Australia, although we managed to complete some good work at the end of FP2. At the start of FP1 Karun was caught out by the slippery conditions and made a mistake which unfortunately curtailed his running. In the second session we had a fuel pressure problem on Jarno’s car and an electronics issue on Heikki’s car, both of which limited our running, but we were able to solve those issues and work through most of the afternoon’s plan. For tomorrow there is a lot more to come from the car. We are clearly not quite where we expected to be in performance terms but we understand the reasons for that – it is proving quite tricky for us to get the best out of the tyres but we will work on that tonight and when we improve I am confident we will move up to where we expect to be in qualifying tomorrow.”

Tony Fernandes: “It is good to be back racing and very satisfying to see our green and yellow vision coming together on and off the track. It was one of those days that are not so good for us but this is a continuous journey and while we have work to do I’m confident we are moving in the right direction for the year ahead. It is a real mark of where we are now that the comments from the rest of the team are expressing disappointment with today. As a Team Principal it is actually very pleasing to hear that a performance that a year ago we would have been thrilled about is now being seen as us not meeting our targets, and that shows us all just how far we have already come. The team may not see it right now but this is huge progress, so I am happy and looking forward to the rest of the weekend.”

Dominic Harlow: “We had two objectives for the first practice session; for Nico to gather as much data on the prime tyre as possible and for Adrian to evaluate a new rear wing. Paul drove this circuit last year, so it’s not completely new for him. Over the course of the season Adrian and Paul will both share their car with Nico on a Friday, so we’re simply keeping things balanced. FP2 ran to programme, with long run comparisons at race fuel and a test of the DRS race mode and SC systems. It’s been a productive day and we are looking ahead to what will be a fascinating race weekend.”

Martin Whitmarsh: “Today was a good, solid day. Both our drivers performed very well, and we got a lot of work done. The Pirelli tyres exceeded expectations in terms of reliability, and we were thereby able to complete some good long runs and collate plenty of useful data and info. We ran a brand-new floor and a brand-new exhaust today, and it’s always nice to bring new parts to a circuit and see them deliver what you’d expected. Today we saw that: a decent correlation from simulator to racetrack. But you don’t get any points on Fridays – so, although it’s always pleasing to see your cars finish first and second in any session, we won’t be counting our chickens before they’re hatched. All I’ll therefore say now is that today was an encouraging day: we’re going in the right direction, and we’re hoping to continue in that direction in our efforts to strive to find further improvements overnight.”

John Booth: “This morning’s session wasn’t as smooth a start to the season as we would have liked, but we resolved a sensor calibration issue with Timo as soon as possible and got ourselves back on course. The conditions were very slippery and there was little grip due to last night’s rain, so most of the teams were waiting for the track to improve. In the afternoon we were able to complete plenty of laps and both drivers are doing a good job. Clearly we’re not where we need to be at the moment so we have to study the data and look at what we can do to improve. Congratulations to Jérôme on a great debut today.”

Pat Fry: “This morning we worked mainly on evaluating a few aerodynamic updates on the front wing, while the afternoon was spent mostly comparing the two types of tyre that Pirelli has brought here, running with various fuel loads. Unfortunately, the second session took place in very variable weather conditions, with rain putting in an appearance, which made it even more difficult to assess the situation. During the first ninety minutes it seemed that the tyres showed less obvious degradation compared to what we had seen during the fifteen days of testing in Spain. As for the afternoon, I think we need to analyse the data very carefully, especially that part relating to the longer runs. Now we can get down to work: we can expect a long evening to prepare ourselves as well as possible for tomorrow’s qualifying.”

Colin Kolles: “The team made a great effort today. Tomorrow we can have a normal day, with both cars running on the track. Tomorrow will be another day of hard work and hopefully more progress. As for today, I must thank the whole team for their effort and hard work, they did a great job. I am very proud of them”

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