2011 Malaysian GP, practice: Team quotes 

Written by David on April 08th, 2011 at 1:00 pmLast Update: April 08th, 2011 at 1:25 pm

James Key: “We had a standard programme to work through this weekend, and also two extra sets of tyres from Pirelli, which was a development tyre. We ran one set in the morning and one in the afternoon. That gave us some useful data, but I am sure also some useful data for Pirelli. It seems here with the ambient conditions and particularly the track temperature, as we thought was likely to be the case, the tyres are certainly reacting in a different way to what we have seen before. The degradation is higher and the warm up is no issue at all, as you would imagine. In the afternoon we just worked through the tyre programmes and a race run for each driver on tyres. I think we need to look carefully at the data this evening because we are losing about three tenths in the first couple of corners, and a little bit of time in the middle sector. The balance of the car in low speeds is not ideal for the drivers, so we will look at that overnight and look forward to running in free practice three with a better balanced car.”

Ross Brawn: “We have had a much better day here than we experienced in Melbourne. There are some issues which we need to look into and resolve but it is, without doubt, a more positive start to the race weekend. Our basic lower fuel pace looks reasonable. We need to improve the race pace as the car wasn’t consistent enough and that will be the focus for our work tonight.”

Norbert Haug: “It was a productive day for the team, with many laps completed and few problems. We focused on our race set-up today, but there is still more work to be done tomorrow.”

Sam Michael: “After some minor electrical issues with the KERS in the morning session, we had good reliability this afternoon. Our main target was to evaluate various new parts and to do some long run comparisons using the two tyre compounds. The characteristics and performance of the Pirellis look similar to that which we saw in Melbourne. Our focus is now on getting the cars ready for qualifying tomorrow.”

Thierry Salvi: “I think we have done a good job today. We have learnt a lot about the engine behaviour here at Sepang and that puts us in a good position for qualifying and the race. We have completed a lot of work on the qualification maps and we have had some good feedback from the drivers on that part of the programme. With all of this in mind I think we will be able to extract more performance from the engine in qualifying tomorrow so we’ll look to confirm that in FP3.”

Mike Gascoyne: “Today really was a day of two halves. This morning we had a pretty good session, with Davide having his first run in the car here at Sepang and he did a good job for the team, although his last run was cut a bit short. With Jarno we tried both the hard tyre and the development tyre and have good feedback on both. This afternoon we had what looks like a differential problem on Heikki’s car which meant his afternoon was cut short, so apologies to him for that. With Jarno we managed to complete most of the programme, despite changing his power steering, but unfortunately when he was on the soft tyres traffic held him up which meant he wasn’t able to extract the maximum speed from the car. Despite this it is clear that the pace of the car is closer to the midfield than we were in Melbourne and now the onus is on us to make sure the reliability issues are solved and give the drivers a chance to show what the car can really do.”

Tony Fernandes: “The day started very well off track, with the announcement that Dell has upgraded their relationship with us to become an official Technical Partner. When a company of the stature of Dell wants to increase their partnership with us it is a clear sign that we are going in the right direction, so that was very positive. On track it was a day of mixed fortunes. It started well but ended up fairly mediocre, but there are still many positives that have come out of today. If Jarno had not had traffic issues we would have been much closer to being able to show our true pace than we were in Melbourne and even though we keep being dogged by reliability issues we are still very excited about the weekend ahead and what will happen in qualifying tomorrow.”

Martin Whitmarsh: “Today we made good progress – especially when you consider that we were conducting our first high-temperature runs on the new Pirelli tyres. In this morning’s session both Lewis and Jenson expressed the view that our car was somewhat lacking in balance, but by this afternoon our engineers had worked hard to make the relevant improvements and the result was that both drivers were much happier with the ‘feel’ of their cars. As a consequence, both of them achieved good pace over both short runs and long runs. However, we still believe there’s a bit more pace in the cars to ‘unlock’ this weekend, and we fully intend to work as hard as possible to do just that over the next two days.”

John Booth: “We’ve had a challenging start to our weekend’s running in Sepang today. This morning we experienced what we suspect was a suspension failure to the front right of Jerome’s car, which was obviously disappointing. The combination of the wheel flailing on its tether and the car ending up in the gravel trap meant that the damage was quite considerable. As the problem occurred just a few minutes before the end of Free Practice 1, we faced a major battle to rebuild the car and get out on track in Free Practice 2 for at least an installation run at the end of the session. Despite a monumental effort by Jerome’s crew we missed out by just a few minutes, so it’s been a challenging day on that side of the garage. Thankfully things went better on Timo’s side and he seems reasonably happy with the car, which has at least provided us with some opportunity to gauge where we are. We have a lot of work to do tonight to ensure we are in a better position for tomorrow.”

Dominic Harlow: “We completed our work today despite the high temperatures, particularly in the afternoon, and we are satisfied with cooling levels, which of course tend to be tested here. We have some issues to address with Adrian’s car as he had problems on the downshift that affected the stability but will work on those overnight. On the hot track the drivers found quite high tyre degradation and certainly a bit of oversteer as the rear tyres degraded. It’s a different scenario to the weekend in Australia, and we’ll be looking through the data to define our best set-up for the race considering both the tyre behaviour and the possible weather conditions.”

Pat Fry: “We got through a lot of work on this first day of free practice. In fact, apart from the usual Friday programme, we wanted to carry out a whole series of aerodynamic tests to try and gather as much data as possible on the handling of the car, especially in terms of the front end. In quantitive terms we achieved our aim because the programme was completed as planned. Now it’s up to us to analyse the data and get the answers we are looking for. It will be a tough job, but a vital one to understand in which direction to go in the development of the car. Having done that, we then concentrated on all the usual Friday tasks, which means looking for the best set-up and especially on comparing the two types of tyre we have here. From what we could see, it looks like being a very busy weekend for the pit stop guys, because the degradation, at least in these conditions, seems higher than in Melbourne. The alternative scenario is rain which seems likely for Sunday…From a performance point of view, allowing for all the unknown factors on a Friday, the situation does not seem that different to the one in Australia: our aim is try and make the most of what we have got at our disposal.”

James Allison: “Both Vitaly and Nick suffered failures under braking in the front uprights early in the first session. As a precaution we stopped running the cars until we had understood the problem. We quickly established that the two failed items had come from the same material batch and that nothing from this batch had run prior to today. It took a little longer to rule out other potential causes but once we were confident that the failures were related to a material problem we released the cars for the second half of afternoon practice where they ran without problem.”

Colin Kolles: “Although Narain and Tonio were forced to stop today, they were minor issues as proven by the fact that they were able to get back out on the track again. All in all we could say today was a good day, I believe we made some progress and will make some more tomorrow as this is our first real test of the new car. It’s good news that Narain was under the 107%. We didn’t run a qualifying set-up today and the car didn’t look too bad, we didn’t have any reliability issues just a small problem with a switch which we will have to sort out for tomorrow. Our target is to improve as quickly as possible, the only way to do this is by working consistently and pushing, you can’t get anywhere by complaining and feeling sorry for yourself. We have new updates which will hopefully be completed for Turkey, we have a wind tunnel programme in place, everything is falling into place, now we have to work on it in order to take another step forward.”

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