A-1 Ring, July/ 23/ 1999 1999 AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX -- FREE PRACTICE Damon not over the hill! After unexpectedly heavy showers in the Spielberg area throughout yesterday afternoon and evening, the sun was shining again for first practice at the...
A-1 Ring, July/ 23/ 1999 1999 AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX -- FREE PRACTICE
Damon not over the hill!
After unexpectedly heavy showers in the Spielberg area throughout yesterday afternoon and evening, the sun was shining again for first practice at the Austrian GP. With Michael Schumacher recovering at home from his broken leg, Mika Salo's debut with the Ferrari team was the centre of attention. However, the sensation of the afternoon was the fastest time recorded in the closing moments by the Jordan of Damon Hill, who jumped in front of the McLarens of Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard. With the track still getting cleaner, and with Bridgestone's Soft compound tyre showing excellent durability in the conditions, lap times are expected to fall even further tomorrow.
Yoshihiko Ichikawa, Bridgestone Motorsport Technical Manager:
"As we had expected, we discovered that most drivers reported a better balance on scrubbed tyres than on fresh rubber. Tomorrow they will find out how many laps they need to do to get their tyres -- both fronts and rears -- into perfect condition for qualifying. Today the majority choice was in favour of the Soft option: in fact, only one driver went out on the Medium rubber. This situation could, of course, change if the weather tomorrow is exceptionally hot."
Ignazio Lunetta, Race Engineer on Mika Salo's Ferrari:
"After many years working with Michael, certainly today's free practice was a new experience for me. Until today, Mika had done all his testing with the F399 at Fiorano. He still has a lot to learn about the car and the team as well as getting used to the changes in the track. He did all his running today on just one set of tyres. He was consistently improving his lap times until he made a small mistake and had to abandon his car on the track, missing the last 40 minutes. Up to that point he was very satisfied with his progress. The situation was not dramatic, but unfortunately it prevented him from setting a lap time that would have put him among the leaders."
Gustav Brunner, Technical Director, Minardi Team:
"For this race we have made some aerodynamic changes, mainly involving a revised diffuser, which have made the car much more forgiving to drive. Because they find the car much easier to drive, Luca and Marc do not have the feeling that it is going to spin so they have been able to push much harder than before. Both of them drove very well and they are only one second behind the leading times. This is closer than I can remember any Minardi drivers ever having been been to the front. It was also encouraging that our times were recorded on tyres which had already done quite a lot of laps: it demonstrates the consistency of the performance of the tyres in cold conditions like today's."
TEMPERATURES AIR TRACK WEATHER Morning 19º-19 26º-27 Dull - dry Afternoon 21º-19 33º-25 Sunny-- dry