The first day of practice for the final European race of the 2013 season got underway in Monza today in preparation for Sunday’s 53 lap Formula 1 Gran Premio D’Italia 2013.
The day panned out with a typical Friday programme, albeit with Rodolfo Gonzalez substituting for Jules Bianchi this morning, alongside Max Chilton. This was one of several planned FP1 sessions for Rodolfo this season, alternating between both regular race drivers. Jules returned to car 22 for the afternoon session.
Max recorded the fastest time for the Team today, a 1:27.548, to end FP2 in 19th position. Jules concluded his afternoon session in P22.
Max Chilton: “I am obviously quite happy with the first day of running here. We’ve had a smooth couple of sessions and made good progress through each, so to end the day ahead of my nearest competitors is a nice reward. We have done a lot of work to optimise our package for here, as low downforce circuits have not always played to the strengths of our car. We seem to have chosen a good direction though, the balance is good and let’s hope we can maintain this momentum through the rest of the weekend.”
Jules Bianchi: “Today was a little frustrating for me as I had a lot to achieve in just one afternoon session, so I was pushing hard and perhaps forcing myself into a couple of mistakes. This cost us in terms of consistency and although we have completed the programme, I feel there is quite a bit more to come from me and the car. It has been very warm so far but we need to plan some alternative scenarios as there is a strong chance of the weather changing later in the weekend. I hope this evening will allow us to play catch-up a little more so we can enjoy a smoother day for me tomorrow.”
Rodolfo Gonzalez, Reserve Driver: “It was nice to have the opportunity to drive FP1 at such a legendary circuit as Monza this morning. It’s a beautiful track and a fantastic experience in an F1 car. My programme was mainly aero focused, to enable the Team to start to evaluate the low downforce set-up we have here. Everything went according to plan and I am happy that my feedback is playing a role in moving us forward through the weekend.”
John Booth, Team Principal: “A good day for the team overall in terms of achieving our full test programme. The first session this morning focused on aero-based tests in order to look at the set-up required for this track and also to collect data to further our long term understanding of the car. Rodolfo worked through the majority of this programme and drove well to achieve all the required data. Unfortunately this didn’t give him much time to concentrate on performance work but nowadays that is what FP1 is generally for. Into this afternoon, with the race drivers in the car, we turned our focus again to tyres with short and long run evaluations. Overall we are reasonably pleased but as usual on Fridays comparisons to others are difficult with fuel loads and other factors, so tomorrow will provide a better indication of our true pace.” (Marussia F1)
Subbed by AJN.