Two trouble-free Grands Prix. A good first day at the Nurburgring.
The start of the German Grand Prix weekend did not throw up any major surprises, so that it was a normal Friday in fact with no need to embellish the description of the work carried out.
It centred on evaluating some new technical components and on a comparison of the two types of tyre supplied here by Pirelli, who also brought along an additional experimental Soft compound to try. Thanks partly to these two extra sets of tyres, the two Scuderia drivers racked up no less than 127 laps; 68 for Fernando Alonso and 59 for Felipe Massa, equivalent to a total of 653 kilometres.
Fernando Alonso: “A normal sort of Friday just like any other. First impressions from the car are good, which confirms that we are working in the right direction. I’ve said it before, it’s not a case of a miracle having happened at Silverstone, because of the regulations relating to the exhausts. That result was down to the many improvements introduced race after race, as could be seen from the fact that, even from Monaco, we had returned to a good level in terms of being competitive and here too, where we are back to the Valencia rules, we are at the front end of the field.
In theory, the cold is not a friend to us: in these conditions, the Red Bull has even more of an edge, but it’s up to us to adapt as well as possible to these conditions. On top of that, the low temperatures can also impact on our strategy for qualifying, given it’s not easy to do a time right from the first timed lap. It if was to rain, the situation would be even more complicated. The incident with Michael? Nothing happened, maybe he didn’t see me coming and then I had to brake suddenly. And then, on a Friday much like any other, a bit of excitement is quite welcome…”
Felipe Massa: “It was a good day: we had so much work to get through and we managed to do it in both sessions, without having any problems. I would say we can be reasonably satisfied with our level of competitiveness, even if it’s too soon to say if we can fight for something important. The pace over a long run is not bad on both types of tyre: there is quite some difference between the Prime and the Option and we will need to keep that in mind when coming up with our race strategy.
It’s a bit of a struggle to do a time immediately on the first lap, even with the Soft, but I think it’s the same problem for everyone. I like this circuit: there are climbs and descents and a lot of changes of direction which make it fun to drive. Sure, if on top of that you have a quick car then you can have even more fun!”
It’s hard to say where we are compared to the others
“We had a very full work programme that we managed to complete without any reliability problems, which is always a good way to start a race weekend. Felipe and Fernando did practically two Grands Prix distances between them, picking up a lot of data that is now being studied by our engineers.
There were various elements being assessed, both for this race and for the forthcoming ones: we will now try and put together the best possible package for the rest of the weekend. It’s hard to say where we are compared to the others because of the usual unknowns regarding fuel loads and also because of the different programmes being run. From what we could see, the low temperatures are certainly not helping when it comes to getting the tyres working at their best right from the first lap, especially with the Medium compound. Tomorrow, qualifying could be affected by rain, which means it will be important to do a good job of managing the tyres and the strategy.”