F1

Abu Dhabi GP: Ferrari Friday practice notes

First Session K. Raikkonen: 15th 1.45.704, 27 laps, chassis 279 G. Fisichella: 18th 1.46.267, 26 laps, chassis 280 Second Session K. Raikkonen: 10th 1.41.987, 39 laps, chassis 279 G. Fisichella: 17th 1.42.932, 37 laps, chassis...

First Session
K. Raikkonen: 15th 1.45.704, 27 laps, chassis 279
G. Fisichella: 18th 1.46.267, 26 laps, chassis 280

Second Session
K. Raikkonen: 10th 1.41.987, 39 laps, chassis 279
G. Fisichella: 17th 1.42.932, 37 laps, chassis 280

Weather
First session: air 32/34 C, track 46/49 C; sunny.
Second session: air 30 C, track 35/32 C; clear skies.

Formula 1's debut at the new Yas Marina circuit did not produce any change in Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro's situation, not that there was any reason to expect it. "We are aware of the difficulties we will face this weekend," said Stefano Domenicali. "Our main rivals in the fight for third place in the Constructors' classification are going through a very positive phase, while we are having to make a virtue of necessity, trying to get the most out what we have got to work with. However, this does not mean we will not be fighting right down to the last lap, as we are not the sort to give up that easily. As for the technical aspect of this first day of free practice, on behalf of the entire team I wish to congratulate the organizers of the Grand Prix for the work they have done: Yas Marina will become, partly thanks to the Ferrari World Park Abu Dhabi, the place to be for all racing fans."

Kimi Raikkonen: "The car is not bad to drive, but it is simply slow and lacks grip, as in fact has been the case very often this year. It's not as though there is a specific reason why it's not going well, but most of all, its down to our choice to stop development of the F60, so our performance level compared to the others is going down race by race, given that so many teams are still working on this year's cars. There are only a few corners where you can make a difference, near the start of the lap. Then there are so many heavy braking points and slow speed corners, where stability on entry and acceleration on exit are the important factors. Going from daylight to artificial light? After two races in Singapore, it doesn't cause a problem. The pit lane exit? In terms of its layout it's quite similar to Interlagos, except there's a wall instead of a guardrail."

Giancarlo Fisichella: "This will become a sort of second home Grand Prix for Ferrari, as rising above the back of the circuit, will be the first ever theme park dedicated to the Maranello company. As for the track, I can say the nicest part is the first section with the quick corners. I think there is some chance of overtaking on the long straights, while the pit lane exit is a bit dangerous, but there is nothing that can be done to change it. In the second session, when the temperature dropped, the track became less slippery. In the first session, I was struggling a bit to stay on track and I had a lot of graining. We have nothing new on the car and we must try and do our best, working on its set-up."

Chris Dyer: "It was a Friday like so many others we have experienced this season. We were able to complete our entire programme with both drivers and picked up a lot of data to analyse this evening and tomorrow, in preparation for qualifying and the race. Our race pace seems pretty good, while we are struggling to get a good time out of the car on the first timed lap, which could go against us in qualifying. As for the tyre performance, it is not yet clear, at least from what we have seen today, which will be the quickest compound to use for qualifying, so we might see some different choices to usual."

Abu Dhabi GP - Into the twilight zone

Yas Marina, 30 October -- Even though Formula 1 has experienced two Singapore night races, the spectacle of second practice going from natural light to a floodlit track was still a breathtaking spectacle, towards the end of the first day of practice for the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Here to witness the sun going down to be replaced by an almost full moon, were Ferrari President, Luca di Montezemolo, Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher, all present to lend their support to the Scuderia at the final round of the 2009 World Championship: a championship where the Drivers' crown was decided in Brazil a fortnight ago and in which the top two places in the Constructors' classification are also settled. So, for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, this weekend's target is to make up the one point gap and overtake historic rivals, McLaren-Mercedes in the fight for the final step on the virtual podium.

Judging by the comments of our two drivers, it will be a tough task: in the first practice Kimi Raikkonen and Giancarlo Fisichella finished fifteenth and eighteenth respectively and in the twilight session, the Finn was tenth and the Italian seventeenth. The general impression is that the Yas Marina track is not too demanding and so far, the controversial pit lane exit, which twists and turns and goes through a tunnel, has not caused any problems. While it is usual for a race track to produce more grip and therefore quicker lap times in the second Friday session, here the difference was even more marked as the cooler night temperatures in FP2 saw the fastest time drop by almost three seconds. The honour of ending the first ever day of an Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the top of the time sheet went to the McLaren-Mercedes duo, as Heikki Kovalainen was fastest, followed by Lewis Hamilton. Following the out-going world champion was his successor, Jenson Button, third in the Brawn, followed by Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull. Fifth place went to the Toyota of Kobayashi, who is replacing Timo Glock for the second race in succession. Rounding off the top six was the Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso of Sebastien Buemi.

-credit: ferrari

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