Free practice for Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix kicked off in cloudy conditions at Istanbul Park today. The air and track temperatures peaked at 14 and 20 degrees respectively, making today's running the coldest at a Grand Prix so far this...
Free practice for Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix kicked off in cloudy conditions at Istanbul Park today. The air and track temperatures peaked at 14 and 20 degrees respectively, making today's running the coldest at a Grand Prix so far this year.
The Honda Racing F1 Team worked through a detailed set-up programme with both RA108 cars, honing the aerodynamic package to the demands of the 5.338km track. They ran reliably throughout the two 1.5-hour sessions, providing Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello with a good baseline from which to progress through the remainder of the race weekend.
In session one, the cars finished comfortably inside the top 10. Jenson completed 12 laps to achieve the fifth fastest time, while Rubens ran for 11 laps to end the session 0.1s slower than his team-mate in eighth place.
Some light rain over the lunchtime break resulted in damp conditions at the start of session two, but a dry line quickly appeared and the drivers were able to continue their preparations. Jenson completed 28 laps with his best time of 1:28.826s placing him 11th overall, while Rubens finished 15th on the timesheets after 22 laps, with a best time of 1:29.024s.
Weather: Cool and overcast
Temperatures: Air: 13-14C Track: 19-21C
Q. How is your RA108 performing around Istanbul Park?
A. "We made a lot of changes to the car after this morning when I was struggling with a lack of grip on initial turn in which you really need around here. This afternoon was much better right from the start of the session. We tried a lot of different things on the set-up and I'm confident that we know which direction to take for the rest of the weekend."
Q. Did the track conditions today work in your favour?
A. "It was a bit damp when we first went out this afternoon but from then on the track was fine. This circuit is very tough without traction control and you could see that a lot of people were making mistakes but that does make it more fun to watch and drive. I was certainly enjoying it out there! The car is working better on the smoother asphalt here and we have made some changes to help with the ride quality, so for me the car feels better than in Barcelona."
Q. What progress have you made with the RA108 today?
A. "The car was nicely balanced in the morning and we were pleased with our progress. However we made a mechanical change over lunch which changed the balance. It was too big a change to go back in the time available so we have some work to do overnight to understand what has changed. We should be able to get the car back to how it felt this morning, then I believe we have a good chance of getting through to Q3 tomorrow."
Q. It's a big weekend for you as you reach 257 Grands Prix here. How do you feel?
A. "Well most importantly, when I'm in the car, it's a normal weekend for me. It's fantastic to have the celebrations here, with all my family and the team, but on the track nothing changes. When I began my career back in 1993, I never thought that I would break this record, but now it really means a great deal to me."
Head of Race & Test Engineering
Q. Did the two sessions run smoothly for the team?
A. "The sessions ran without any incident on either car which is always good. The damp track at the start of the morning, the rain for the start of the second session and then the red flag caused by Webber's crash of course meant that we could not stick to the original plan. This is the same for everyone and something we just had to deal with."
Q. What are your expectations for the rest of the weekend?
A. "With the disrupted sessions it is more difficult than usual to gauge our speed relative to our competitors. However here we have the front wheel covers, which give a tangible performance gain, so getting one or both cars to a top ten qualifying position and from there a points finish ought to be realistic targets."