The opening Free Practice sessions of the Canadian Grand Prix weekend got off to a damp start this morning as one of the Formula 1 fraternity’s favoured venues delivered wet, cool and cloudy conditions at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
For both Marussia F1 Team drivers, today was their debut foray on this demanding 4.361km low-medium downforce circuit. This morning, Max Chilton enjoyed a positive session of aerodynamic testing, albeit frustrated by having to tread carefully on the intermediate tyre to begin with and then with the subsequent changeover to the Pirelli prototype slicks. He ended the FP1 session in P19.
Team-mate Jules Bianchi ran wide in turn 3 in the slippery conditions early on in the session, ending up on the escape road. He was forced to switch the car off when the temperatures escalated and he had to sit out the remainder of the session. Damage sustained within the gearbox as he attempted to get back on track meant that his car necessitated a gearbox change over the lunch break.
This afternoon, the Team were able to work through the main race preparation programme with some more comprehensive evaluations of the tyres and brakes, with Jules and Max making good progress to finish in 19th and 21st positions respectively.
The track conditions were very tricky at the start of FP1 and unfortunately I got caught out on a damp section of the track. I had completed just 8 laps, which was very frustrating because this is a new circuit for me and we also had a busy aero programme to get through this morning. I’m pleased that I have been able to recover the ground we lost and happy with how we end this first day of running. I really like my first taste of this track, so it’s a shame that it wasn’t such a smooth start but I think we are back in a good place for the rest of the weekend.
So far so good on my first outing at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. It’s a great track; I love it. This morning our running was subject to the steadily improving conditions. We had some aero work to do on the prototype tyres so that we could press on with preparing for the race this afternoon. We managed to condense that so that we achieved everything we needed to and we end the day’s running with plenty of data to look over this evening. These are never the best conditions to get your first taste of a new track but I’m comfortable with where we are so far and looking forward to the rest of the weekend.
John Booth, Team Principal:
We came to Canada with a number of mechanical updates to try on the car in FP1, along with a desire to understand as much as possible about the prototype tyres which Pirelli have brought here. Unfortunately, the weather conditions in FP1 curtailed a lot of this work, including some of the evaluations of the revised exhaust parts we have introduced. This means that much of this work has now been delayed until Silverstone, owing to the fact that the dry running in FP2 needed to be devoted to evaluating the tyres and brakes for this event. Jules obviously missed a significant proportion of running in FP1, which was far from ideal. His crew worked well to change his gearbox in time for FP2 and he had a very productive session. Max had a great Friday, covering the majority of his programme and he seems to be fairly happy with the balance of his car. With both cars we are pleased with our progress so far. As is always the case in Canada, brakes will form an important part of our data analysis work tonight and decisions on what specifications we will run going forwards, however we feel relatively confident that in all areas we seem to be on top of things. (Marussia)