F2002 makes race debut on Bridgestones

Michael Schumacher demonstrated the pace of Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro's new F2002 car when it made its race debut in today's free practice sessions for the Brazilian Grand Prix. He finished the morning session on top of the time sheets with a 1:15.627. However, the German driver was unable to improve on his time in the afternoon, ending the day 5th fastest. The next best Bridgestone runner was Rubens Barrichello in 7th position in the F2001.

The morning session was dominated by red and yellow flags, with a number of cars spinning on the dirty, dusty track which punctured one of Rubens Barrichello's tyres on his first lap. Of the top ten cars, eight were on Bridgestone tyres. Local boys Felipe Massa and Enrique Bernoldi impressed in front of their home crowd finishing the morning session 4th and 5th for Sauber Petronas and OrangeArrows, while Giancarlo Fisichella was 3rd for DHL Jordan Honda.

Tyre Performance

All Bridgestone's teams tried both specifications of tyre.

Hisao Suganuma, technical manager of Bridgestone Motorsport, said: "The lap times from today were quite encouraging but in particular I was pleased with the consistency of our tyres. Also, from a wear and blister point of view, we did not encounter any problems. This is a track where stability under braking and traction are especially important, so we concentrated on those points when developing the tyres for this race and that appears, at this early stage, to have paid off."

The Tyre Choice

Both dry-weather tyres Bridgestone has brought to Brazil are new for this race and were tested by all Bridgestone's teams, except OrangeArrows, last week in Barcelona.

Hisao Suganuma said: "Compared with Malaysia, Interlagos is a more difficult track in terms of wear so a harder compound is required. As usual the choice between the compounds is a balance between wear and grip. In terms of strategy for the race, it is difficult too early to say."

The Teams

Ross Brawn, technical director of Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, said: "We were mainly concentrating on race work today and again did a comparison with the tyres. It is not completely clear at this stage which option we want to choose but we were happy with the tyres' consistency today and will have a good look at the data this evening. It was difficult to judge what the other teams were doing in terms of fuel loads but I suspect some of the better times this afternoon were done on low fuel. We had a few technical problems with Rubens's car and I'm sure he can go a lot quicker. Unfortunately, the FIA has not allowed us to replace the set of tyres he lost with the puncture."

Temperature     Ambient Track   Weather

Morning 27-32C 32-46C Hot and sunny
Afternoon 34-33C 46-48C Hot and sunny, light cloud