Mar.16 (McLaren) Team and drivers report on the first day of free practice for the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne, Round 1 of the 2012 Formula 1 world championship.
“Even though it doesn’t mean too much, it’s always nice to start the season with the quickest time of the day. Our car feels very different compared with the last test – the circuit is different and the average corner speed is a lot lower, but the car is still working well for me.
“There are still a few areas where I think we can improve, and we didn’t get as many laps in today as we’d have liked, but it’s been a positive day. We did some set-up work this morning and then spent the afternoon understanding how the car reacts when running wet or intermediate tyres.
“The weather didn’t help, but it’s been the same for everyone. Overall, I think we’re quite happy, but there’ll be a lot of discussion tonight as we choose our direction for tomorrow.”
“We spent the morning making sure we could switch the tyres on. Then, in the afternoon, we didn’t do any running in the wet because the forecast says it’s likely to be dry for the rest of the weekend. In those circumstances, it’s important to remain calm, look after the car and make sure we focus on the rest of the weekend. Tomorrow, it’ll be important to get out early in the session and maximise our dry running so that we can work on set-up and make sure our car is in the zone.
“Our car feels there or thereabouts but, as in testing, we don’t know the fuel-loads the others were running: it still looks close between ourselves, Red Bull and Mercedes. It’s going to be interesting tomorrow – we’ll get a better understanding of who’s going to be quick. I’m massively excited to see how the rest of the weekend goes.”
“After so many weeks of testing and talking, it’s exciting finally to get the season underway. As usual, Friday practice didn’t provide the answers many people were seeking – and, if anything, today’s changeable conditions meant the timesheets probably threw up a few more questions than answers – but it was nonetheless pleasing to get some productive running under our belts.
“With drier weather forecast for the remainder of the weekend, the focus now shifts to our engineers, who’ll be working hard to analyse the data in order to provide us with the best possible performance platform for tomorrow’s programme.
“If the showers hold off, it’ll be very important to hit the ground running in P3 tomorrow as a strong session will put us in a good position for tomorrow’s qualifying session. Despite the damp weather, today was a positive start to our weekend.”