Exactly three weeks after the Brawn GP team ran the BGP 001 for the first time, the car made its competitive debut today at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne on the opening day of the Australian Grand Prix weekend. Drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello took to the track with their helmets liveried in the team's distinctive yellow, black and white colour scheme to mark the occasion.
Grip levels on the public roads which make up the Albert Park circuit were very low for the first practice session as the team began working through their Friday programme. The drivers concentrated on refining the balance of the BGP 001 to their liking and putting further valuable mileage on the new car. As the track conditions improved in the second session, the team completed a thorough evaluation of the Bridgestone tyre compounds available for this race.
The team's two BGP 001 cars covered 109 laps of the 5.3km (3.3) mile track today, finishing the second practice session with Rubens in second place on the timesheets and Jenson in fifth position.
Weather: Sunny with a light breeze
"To be here in Melbourne is a real achievement for the team and it feels good to be back in the car and working towards a race weekend strategy again. Despite the limited testing time that we were able to do before this race, we have proved that we have a competitive car and were achieved some good work today. We evaluated both tyres and are happy with the overall performance so I think we have a good chance of a strong qualifying performance tomorrow."
"It was great to finally get the season underway today. We had a good first day of practice and the long run performance looks competitive, particularly on the harder tyre. We still have some work to do on the softer tyre so that will be a priority for tomorrow's practice session. I had traffic on both of my new tyres runs at the end of the day which was a shame so we don't know how quick we are over one lap yet but there is plenty of time to find that out tomorrow."
"The circuit at Albert Park is very different to the tracks that we used for our limited pre-season testing programme so our focus today has been on setting the car up to suit the conditions that we have here and the preferences of our drivers. Track conditions improved considerably in the second session however we are clearly not alone in finding the experience of running slightly later in the day less favourable than anticipated. It is a useful indication of what we may find when the race runs at a similar time on Sunday. The car performed well and we are pleased with the day's work experiencing only minor issues which are to be expected with our limited testing mileage. A good start to the weekend."
-credit: brawn gp