Australian GP Benetton Friday notes

The Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport team kicked off their 2001 F1 challenge in Melbourne on Friday with first practice for Sunday's season-opener, the Australian Grand Prix. Giancarlo Fisichella set a laptime of 1m32.475s to go 16th-fastest,...

The Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport team kicked off their 2001 F1 challenge in Melbourne on Friday with first practice for Sunday's season-opener, the Australian Grand Prix.

Giancarlo Fisichella set a laptime of 1m32.475s to go 16th-fastest, while his team-mate Jenson Button finished the day in 21st place with a time of 1m33.403s.

Technical Director Mike Gascoyne explained the team's day, saying: "We had a small problem on Jenson's engine which meant we had to change it between the sessions and while the boys did a very good job to get Jenson out, that and the ensuing problem with the rear tyre seriously affected his programme.

"On Giancarlo's car we got through a lot of work on tyre evaluation and set-up for the race," he added, "but we have clearly got a lot of work to do."

Giancarlo Fisichella himself was honest about his first day's running in Melbourne, saying: "We did some good work today - mainly working on set-up for the race - and made good progress with the balance. We also found what we think is the best tyre for us here, but we are far too far down the times so we have a lot of work to do to get us where we need to be."

His team-mate Jenson Button added that he was disappointed with his first day's running, but explained that the team had still managed to collect some useful data ahead of Sunday's grand prix.

"Well this was not a very satisfactory day for me," he said. "We started with some general set-up work, then at the end of the first session I had a problem with the engine and it had to be changed so I lost the first half of the second session.

"When I went out again, I then had a problem with my rear tyre, so I got very little running done," he continued. "Luckily the team completed the programme on Giancarlo's car so we have some good data to work from."

The Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport team will next be on track at 9am local time on Saturday for the third of four practice sessions ahead of the afternoon's vital qualifying hour, which gets underway at 1pm local time.

-Benetton-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Jenson Button , Mike Gascoyne
Teams Benetton