Ferrari: We still need to find the perfect balance

Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen

Ferrari drivers and team report from the first day of practice of the Austrian Grand Prix weekend, Round 8 of the 2014 Formula 1 World Championship, at Red Bull Ring;

Fernando Alonso: “It’s nice to be back racing here, the track has many changes of gradient and that always makes for enjoyable driving. In both sessions, Kimi and I were on different programmes and now we must put all the data together to choose which of the elements we tested have worked best. There were no surprises on the tyre front, the Super-soft seems quicker and will definitely be the tyre for Qualifying, but for the race, it’s impossible to establish now what the strategy will be. It was always cloudy today and there were even a few drops of rain, but the next days are meant to be sunny and so tyre behaviour could change. The good forecast means that anything is possible and hopefully that means the chance to put on a good show for the fans who were already here in large numbers today.”

Kimi Raikkonen: “Today was particularly busy, which is normal when you go back to a track for the first time in many years. Despite the changeable weather reducing the amount of track time in the first session, we still managed to complete our programme, which today centred on analysing new aerodynamic parts brought for this race. Along with Fernando, we concentrated on different set-up tests, me on the front end and him on the rear, so as to compare the data from the second session. In the afternoon, I had a better feeling from the car, but for various reasons, including a lack of grip, traffic and the wind, I didn’t manage to put together a good lap, or to improve in the final sector.”

Pat Fry: “Coming back here after eleven years made for a bit more work on this first day on track. Kimi and Fernando did a total of 129 laps and even if this is one of the shortest tracks on the calendar, Spielberg presents a demanding series of drops and climbs and luckily, both our drivers are among the few to have driven here before. The cold track in the morning complicated the task of getting the Soft tyres up to temperature, but things went better on the Super-soft in the afternoon. Over the two sessions, we made various set-up changes to meet the demands of the different driving styles of our drivers and we did see a slight improvement. Of course, we can’t say we’re pleased with that, because we still need to find the perfect balance and therefore we will need to make the most of today’s data to work on the handling of the car. Qualifying will be very close, especially because on such a short track, just a tenth of a second can win or lose you several places on the grid, so we will need to get a clean lap without traffic. As far as race pace is concerned, behind the Mercedes there’s a group of cars all quite close together, doing very similar lap times, so a good grid position would mean not having to chase after the others.”

(Ferrari F1)