With barely any time to rest after last Sunday’s race in Japan, the Korean Grand Prix got underway today with the first free practice sessions at the Yeongam circuit.
Two practice sessions where the main objective was for the drivers to learn the track, as none of them had run at Korea before, and make the most of the time out on track to test both tyre options, different set-up configurations and make a comparison between rear wings.
In the afternoon, Pedro de la Rosa tested the new rear wing to gather the maximum amount of data possible and compare with that gathered by Narain Karthikeyan who adapted very quickly.
The team will now analyze all data extracted from today to finish adjusting the set-up during the third free practice session tomorrow before the crucial qualifying session.
Pedro de la Rosa: "Today was a classic Friday practice session. We focused on testing everything we had programmed and getting to know the circuit because I’d never raced here.
It’s very technical and you need to know it well. That was the target in the morning and we also gradually improved the set-up of the car.
In the second session we mounted the new wing and tested both tyre options and now we must all the data we gathered to optimize the set-up for tomorrow’s qualifying”.
Narain Karthikeyan: "As I didn’t run in the first session we had to make the most of the second one to adapt to the circuit. There are very technical areas such as turn 11 and the second sector, so we have to run even more to get to know it better.
Tomorrow we will try out a different set-up and I hope that in the third free practice session we’ll be able to prepare better to give it our all in qualifying”.
Dani Clos: "I’d never raced here and it was an interesting session. The track was very dirty, especially at the beginning, so there wasn’t much grip.
It was a very demanding practice session because I had to learn the track very quickly to be able to give the maximum amount of feedback to the team. I’m satisfied because we drew positive conclusions and did a good job”.
Luis Pérez-Sala, Team Principal: "The important thing in any Friday practice session is to complete the test programme with no incidents.
But at this particular circuit the drivers also had to learn the circuit because they’d never raced here. Dani did a good job in the morning y Narain adapted very quickly in the afternoon.
Pedro, on his behalf, was also able to test the new rear wing and, although there is a lot of data to analyze, it looks like it’s a small improvement. Tomorrow I hope we can confirm this and close the gap a bit”.
Source: HRT - Formula 1 Team