Melbourne Day 1: Feedback from teams

Quotes from team officials after free practice on the opening day of the Australian Grand Prix weekend, Round 1 of the Formula 1 World Championship, at Albert Park in Melbourne.


James Allison, Technical Director: “It always seems like a bit of a cliché to say that we were pleased to get through our programme smoothly. But in the first practice sessions of a new season – particularly under new regulations like these – it’s especially important to achieve that and also to leave the car intact for Saturday. On both counts, I think we can say that today was a smooth day. Our programme focused on trying out the various tyre compounds that we have available this weekend to see what kind of pace and degradation we can expect from them. We also worked to ensure the car has a reasonable balance with race fuel and lower fuel. Our long run pace looked decent but it’s harder to tell where we stand at this stage in terms of single lap pace. We’ll find out tomorrow. Overall the car seems strong, so we’re looking forward to seeing what we can do with it.”


Nick Chester, Technical Director: “It was great to see the R.S.17 on track for its first Grand Prix sessions and we’ve had a productive day. Over Nico’s side of the garage, pace was pretty much in line with expectations and we were able to get some decent understanding of where we need to go here in terms of set-up. Jo’s FP1 was shortened a little due to a split in a CV boot, and it’s unfortunate that he had a shunt in FP2. There’s a reasonable amount of work to do to his car but nothing too drastic so we’re looking forward to seeing what’s possible in our first qualifying session of the season tomorrow.”

Force India

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal: “As Fridays go, it was a fairly routine start to the 2017 season with a brake system problem on Esteban’s car the only significant issue at the start of FP1. Fortunately we resolved that quite quickly allowing Esteban to get on with learning the track. The VJM10 has been behaving as we expected from a set-up perspective, which allowed us to push on with understanding the various tyre compounds and seeing how they perform in these conditions compared to what we saw during pre-season testing. All the information we collected today will determine our approach for the rest of the weekend. Sergio’s programme was straightforward and Esteban took a mature approach to learning quite a difficult track. We split some test items – areo and mechanical – between the two cars to make comparisons and that will help our decision-making tonight.”

Haas F1 Team

Guenther Steiner, Team Princiapl: “I think we had two scenarios. One driver, Romain, had a good session. He learned a lot, did a lot of running and seemed to be competitive. With Kevin, we had a few issues. In the morning we couldn’t find the balance on the car, and in the afternoon we were working on it. It seemed to go in the right direction until a water leak. We didn’t do very much running. All in all, I think for the first day out in the new season it’s not too bad. As we expected, there’ll be a very tight battle in the midfield. We still don’t know where we’re at really until tomorrow’s qualifying. We’ll work hard to sort out Kevin’s car for tomorrow’s FP3 session and try to do our best.”


Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer: “It was a day of two halves! We had a great session this morning, the first practice session of Lance’s Formula One career. He did a great job of taking it step-by-step, doing some good laps whilst getting familiar with a circuit he has never driven on before. He made steady progress throughout the session. On Felipe’s side of the garage, there was also some good running on both high and low fuel, and different tyres with encouraging pace. In FP2, unfortunately it wasn’t so good on Felipe’s side. We had an electrical problem which stopped the car on the circuit and brought his session to an end very early. We know the issue so it will be resolved easily overnight. He did get one run on the supersoft tyres before stopping, but unfortunately we missed out on the long runs. Meanwhile, Lance had another good session and we got good data from him on high fuel and we’ll be working with all of that information overnight.”

Toro Rosso

Jody Egginton, Head of Vehicle Performance: “It was good to be back to the routine of a Friday at a GP and it has given the car crews the opportunity to get back into the groove. As is the case every year, the circuit has shown its normal level of evolution through the sessions today. It has been a productive day and we have gathered good data on all three compounds which, given the level of safety car risk here, will allow us to make informed decisions regarding risk versus reward if the opportunity arises during the race. As normal, we will work through the data from today during tonight and make the required changes in order to meet tomorrow’s objective of getting more short-run performance from the STR12. Overall, a satisfying start to the first race weekend of 2017.”