The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix got underway today at the spectacular Yas Marina Circuit with the first free practice sessions. In the morning, Ma Qing Hua stepped into the F112 once again and accompanied Pedro de la Rosa for the third time this season in FP1.
Pedro de la Rosa dedicated the entire day to working on the set-up of his car besides testing different configurations to evaluate the cooling of the brakes and both tyre compounds.
His teammate, Narain Karthikeyan, who returned in the afternoon session, only had 90 minutes to adapt to an, until today, unknown track but still had no trouble in completing his programme with both tyres.
Pedro de la Rosa: "The initial objective was to find a good car balance and we achieved it quite early on. Then we focused on testing different configurations to see where we were and to optimize the cooling of the brakes.
The grip on the track is quite low and the difference between both tyre compounds is smaller than expected. With the mediums the car performs better but on softs the grip is better, although we can still extract more from these.
Our pace is good and the tests we carried out on the brakes didn’t go badly, so we’re optimistic although there is room for improvement”.
Narain Karthikeyan: "I didn’t know the track beforehand and it’s more demanding and technical than expected, both physically and for the car because there isn’t much grip.
Today’s objective was simply to run as much as possible and tomorrow we will focus on adjusting minor details ahead of qualifying.
We’ve still got three sets of tyres, two softs and one medium, and if we make the most of them I’m confident that we’ll be much more competitive”.
Ma Qing Hua: "It was great getting back in the car for a free practice session and the circuit is stunning. I’d never raced here and the conditions weren’t easy because of the heat and low grip.
The car was sliding quite a bit and it was difficult to control as we had oversteer. In the first runs we did some engine tests to develop the performance of the car and we also worked on the overall balance.
We weren’t aiming to set a time but towards the end I was able to string together a few laps to improve my driving. Overall it was a positive day to work for the team and we accomplished our target”.
Luis Pérez-Sala, Team Principal: "I’m happy with today because everything progressed with no issues and we carried out every test we had programmed.
Ma got back in the car and, although he had to work for the team and wasn’t able to push to the maximum, he was under the 107% once again which is very positive.
Narain quickly adapted to the circuit in only one session and Pedro did a good job. The tests on the brakes prove that we’re in a better position than in India and that’s positive, but there’s more to extract from the car still”.
Source: HRT - Formula 1 Team