The Honda Racing F1 Team took to the track for the opening day of practice at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve today. Running its RA108 race cars in low downforce aerodynamic trim for the first time this year, the team used today's three hours of...
The Honda Racing F1 Team took to the track for the opening day of practice at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve today. Running its RA108 race cars in low downforce aerodynamic trim for the first time this year, the team used today's three hours of track time to work on the set-up required to suit the demands of the 4.361km (2.709-mile) track.
Early morning rain over Montreal resulted in the first 1.5-hour practice session taking place in damp conditions. Both RA108s started on the Bridgestone wet tyre then switched to the grooved tyre later in the session when the track dried out. The drivers completed just 17 laps each.
In the second session, the team focused on tyre comparison work once some rubber had been laid down and the track had become representative. The drivers each completed 39 laps in the afternoon, with Rubens ending up 13th on the timesheets, with a fastest time of 1:17.462s, and Jenson in 19th with a best of 1:17.842s.
Damp track for morning session, overcast and humid throughout
Q. What has been the focus of your running today?
A. "We have been trying to make the car work with very low levels of downforce today, in order to be able to run at a competitive pace. We have achieved a better set-up over the course of the day, although the rear is still lacking a little bit of stability at the moment. We don't know where we stand yet for the remainder of the weekend, however I am happy with the progress that we made today."
Q. Tell us about the challenges you experienced today?
A. "It has been a tough day for us today and we need to fully understand why that was in order to make progress for the remainder of the weekend. The car felt unbalanced and was difficult to drive in both sessions. I really struggled with the rear end which was causing problems with snap oversteer and we just lacked any form of pace. So there is a lot of work to do before we can feel confident with the car for qualifying and the race."
STEVE CLARK Head of Race & Test Engineering
Q. What have you learned from the first two free practice sessions?
A. "Today's first practice was wet but with the track continuing to dry out through the session. In these conditions the track and performance is changing every lap so it is difficult to draw any firm conclusions from any changes we make to the car. As the track dried the story of the day appears to be tyre choice. These are the same tyres as Monaco and historically this track has proved a tough endurance test for them. In today's low grip conditions the reverse seemed true and even the super soft compound was difficult to bring up to temperature."
Q. What is the outlook for the Sunday's race?
A. "The weather forecast for the weekend is for much higher temperatures which will change the shape of the race. Canada is a race where we usually see a great deal of attrition and we hope that our excellent reliability will promote us into the points on Sunday."