Indian GP - Encouraging signs?
Greater Noida, 25 October – Everything went smoothly for Scuderia Ferrari in this afternoon’s practice session at the Buddh International Circuit. A dry track and smoggy skies provided the backdrop to a busy programme which saw Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa complete 39 and 41 laps respectively. The Spaniard was fifth fastest in 1.26.430, while the Brazilian was seventh in 1.26.601.
In under two hours the engineers identified and solved the gearbox problem which stopped Alonso in the morning, so that he was able to complete the full session. He did his first 7 lap run on Mediums. Massa did 10 laps in the first half hour, also on Mediums. The Spaniard made his second run on the same set for another 7 laps, getting down to a 1.27.598. He thus made up for the time lost in FP1 before going out on the Softs for a qualifying simulation, lapping in 1.26.430 on his first flying lap. Massa had done a 1.26.601 on the Option at the end of his second flying lap. The last 40 minutes were given over to the usual long runs with Massa and Alonso alternating between the two compounds, acquiring valuable data on different fuel loads.
Felipe Massa “A positive day today, with the car working well and I hope that on Sunday things will end up even better, because I like this track a lot. On my first lap with the Softs, I didn’t manage to set a good time because of the traffic, but I am quite pleased with the race simulation I did in the afternoon, because on the Medium tyres, I managed to do a lot of laps and that’s a very interesting point in terms of the race. Degradation is not that high here and so I don’t think we will see a lot of pit stops. I think we won’t see too many pit-stops, even if we will have to be careful with the Soft tyres in the first stint because of blistering. The team to beat is still Red Bull, but we have to see how the other cars will perform, especially in qualifying, because Mercedes and Lotus are very quick. As usual, we will have to push to the maximum”.
Pat Fry “A problem on Fernando’s gearbox restricted his running in the morning session to just six laps. Some components were changed for reliability reasons and that got him back out on track in the afternoon, when he made up for lost time, working on set-up and the general balance of the car. With both drivers we tried to adapt the aerodynamic downforce to the amount of grip available from this track, as it gradually improved. Looking ahead to the race, today it was important for us to understand the behaviour of the tyres chosen for this track by Pirelli over a long run. It was the usual Friday in that the time sheet has little significance, but it did supply worthwhile clues for the race and the data relating to our pace is encouraging. We just need to pay close attention to the performance of the two compounds, starting with tomorrow’s qualifying to work out the best race strategy”.