Zhuhai: Team Switzerland Friday notes

Alexandre Imperatori and Neel Jani pleased with first day at Zhuhai This was an incident-free day for Alexandre Imperatori's first outing at Zhuhai Circuit in good sunny 20 degree Celsius warm weather conditions at 11 sharp for the start of the...

Alexandre Imperatori and Neel Jani pleased with first day at Zhuhai

This was an incident-free day for Alexandre Imperatori's first outing at Zhuhai Circuit in good sunny 20 degree Celsius warm weather conditions at 11 sharp for the start of the first official practice Session dedicated to the "rookie" drivers.

Since he arrived in Zhuhai, Alexandre Imperatori feels at home. There is no need to acclimatize a driver who lived near the track. He could concentrate on Austrian trainer Helmut Fink's strict disciplined and intensive training program and even made sure that Switzerland came second behind China in the Chinese cooking competition organized by the GP administration.

In the rookie session, Alexandre Imperatori, who drives for the first time for A1 Team Switzerland, was able to learn the car and completed 14 laps with a sixth best lap time of 1.24.641 at the end of the two sessions. Engineer James Robinson had a routine technical program to work through with the two drivers.

"It is never easy the first time. But I hope I did a good job. It was a good experience. There are lots of hard braking areas for hairpins and tight corners, followed by accelerations into long straights. This requires a good driving technique," Imperatori said. "I did not have any brake problems like Neel and was able to complete three fast laps. But we worked a lot in that area of race preparation. The session was a lot of work. I hope I prepared the car well for Neel. It was a very interesting experience. Everything went as per plan. I was well prepared too. It is the most important."

Preparations for qualifying and the races have continued in the official practice with Neel Jani driving for the first time at Zhuhai in view of the qualifying and races on Saturday and Sunday. The Swiss driver progressed regularly starting in 2nd official practice with a tenth time of 1.24.902 in his first lap. He was already 8th fastest at the third lap with 1.24.309. At the end of the session Neel completed 16 laps and finished 11th overall of the session of the second practice.

Neel Jani said: "The track here is very interesting, smooth, and not too bumpy. On this track I was surprised to see that there is a lot of mechanical traction. I did not push so much because I right away had a brake problem. Towards the end of the session the master brake cylinder failed. Luckily nothing happened and could manage to stay on the track. We first needed to understand the problems. But today, we could not get a clean run. At the end, the objective of the exercise was just to fix the problems with our brakes. For the rest, we'll stick to our experience and acquired data. With the team and the engineers it was a matter of a quick routine check of the systems and the general set-up. It will be interesting for the rest of the week end with qualifying round and the race as the last element. The main technical part of the circuit will be quite a challenge, but I think that everyone will be close together even if a lot of overtaking occurs. It should provide some interesting racing.'

Max Welti: "Alexandre Imperatori did a good job and I am pleased with the work that we achieved today with both drivers. Alex did a solid job for someone who had never touched the wheel of such a powerful car before. He is a really accomplished and professional driver. He interfaced well with the engineers so everything went according to plan. When Neel took over there was a problem with the brakes but we were lucky to have identified the reason. Brakes are a key factor for a week end like this since the track is hard on them."

-credit: switzerland/capp.ch

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Series A1GP
Drivers Neel Jani , Max Welti , James Robinson , Alexandre Imperatori