Monza,6 September – The first day of the Italian Grand Prix got off to a very summery start, with the second practice session taking place in 30 degree heat. Fernando Alonso was fifth fastest in a time of 1.25.330. Felipe Massa was eighth with a best time of 1.25.519.
However, the Brazilian’s run was cut short thirteen minutes from the end, when he suffered a gearbox problem which the team are investigating.
Overall, Fernando did 38 laps, with Felipe having 29 to his name. Sebastian Vettel was fastest with a 1.24.453.
Fernando Alonso: “The feeling is the same as any Friday, which means we’re neither very happy nor very disappointed with our performance level and we will have to wait and see how qualifying goes before getting a true picture. Red Bull seems very strong again here and we will have to do a lot of work to be as well prepared as possible for qualifying, in order to find those missing tenths.
Although we have yet to analyse the data we have gathered today, some of the updates we brought here for this race seem to be working well, while others will require a bit more evaluation. We must get the most out of what we have available and try to have a good qualifying and a good race in front of our home crowd.
Let’s hope the weather will also be on our side, as the forecast for Sunday is for storms and that’s why we must be ready to deal with whatever the conditions will be. Tyre degradation is very low here and we will definitely see fewer stops than at other races”.
Felipe Massa “Today we managed to test everything we had on our programme, which related to evaluating various aerodynamic solutions, looking for the ideal level of downforce. Now, our next task is to analyse all the available data to understand how to improve the car for qualifying and the race.
Not everything went perfectly, especially towards the end of the second session when, as I was coming out of the first chicane, I had a gearbox problem. As I tried to change from first to second, it went straight into third and at that point, I returned to the pits slowly.
We don’t know exactly what happened, but I don’t think it was anything serious. This won’t be an easy weekend, because our main rivals have set great lap times on both compounds and in race trim, but we will do all we can to be as competitive as possible”.
Pat Fry:* “The Monza circuit is one of a kind and has always been a great challenge when it comes to aerodynamics. Here, as was the case at Spa two weeks ago, the compromise between the requirement for top speed and good traction to tackle the chicanes is the key to getting the best possible performance.
Today, we had to try different specifications and for this reason we decided to split the work between Fernando and Felipe in both sessions. We ran a comparison of different low downforce wings, to find the ideal configuration. With Fernando, we got through the programme without any problems and he showed an encouraging race pace.
However, Felipe’s track time was reduced because of a reliability problem on the gearbox. Today, we saw that Red Bull is very competitive and then there is a group of cars right behind, separated by very small gaps, which is usually the case here at Monza. We will now pay attention to every last detail to maximise our performance and put pressure on our closest competitors”.